FOOTBALL

Arizona football: Scott will play against UCLA

QB practices, denies concussion; Rodriguez: UA followed protocols
2012-10-30T00:00:00Z 2014-08-07T17:52:16Z Arizona football: Scott will play against UCLARyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 30, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Arizona Wildcats quarterback Matt Scott said he will play Saturday against UCLA, even as questions swirl about what happened - and how he was handled - in the waning minutes of last weekend's win over USC.

"I felt fine then, and I feel fine now," Scott said Monday.

USC's Dion Bailey struck Scott with a helmet-to-helmet hit as the Wildcats drove in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 39-36 upset win over USC. The Wildcats' quarterback vomited on the field shortly after, but stayed in the game.

Scott extended the UA's lead with a touchdown pass to David Richards with 5 minutes 36 seconds remaining before being pulled by trainers. Backup B.J. Denker led the team on its final drive.

The sight of Scott puking, and the decision to keep the quarterback in the game to throw the touchdown, forced first-year coach Rich Rodriguez to play a bit of defense during his weekly news conference.

Rodriguez said athletic trainers properly evaluated Scott following the hit, and followed all necessary protocols during and after the game. The coach talked to his quarterback immediately after the win, and again before Sunday's walk-through on campus; he said Scott seemed fine.

"There were concerns that Matt appeared nauseous. Talking to our trainers, I think he was nauseous all day," Rodriguez said. "He appeared fine to me after the game, and appeared fine to me at the walk-through."

Nausea is a common symptom of concussions, and Scott's teammates said after the game that the quarterback acted different after taking the hit.

The UA will not say whether Scott suffered a concussion. That he returned to practice Sunday meant that he either suffered one and was symptom-free within a day, or was not concussed at all.

All affected players must pass the athletic department-mandated ImPACT test before being cleared to practice or play.

Scott blamed both the afternoon heat and his workload. The Wildcats' quarterback completed 27 of 50 passes for 369 yards and ran 15 times for a season-high 100 yards in the UA's first win home win over USC since 1999.

"I really don't think I had a concussion," he said. "I got winded, honestly - that's why I threw up."

What sounds like an excuse comes with some context.

Scott is famous among his teammates for throwing up during hot practices or while running sprints. The quarterback said he felt nauseous three or four plays before taking the hit Saturday, but managed to keep his breakfast down.

"But eventually," he said, "it came up."

Underclassmen coming along

Scott said he was proud of the way two of Arizona's young receivers played Saturday. Starting at outside receiver for the injured Terrence Miller, Richards caught three passes for 23 yards and grabbed a touchdown on Scott's final pass of the afternoon. Johnny Jackson, a walk-on slot receiver, caught one pass - an 8-yard touchdown.

In fact, six of the Wildcats' top seven receivers Saturday were underclassmen.

"Those guys are great players for us, and they're going to continue to get better," Scott said. "They play well, they play hard and I wouldn't expect anything less from those guys."

Flowers lauded

Linebacker Marquis Flowers was named the Pac-12's defensive player of the week on Monday for his performance against USC. Flowers intercepted Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley twice, and forced a fumble that the Wildcats recovered. Bolstered by Flowers' performance, the UA forced five turnovers in a game for the first time since 2008.

The game was a high point for Flowers, who was moved from safety to linebacker two weeks before the season started.

"He's gotten better with each week," Rodriguez said.

Trojans receiver Marqise Lee earned offensive honors for his 16-catch, 345-yard performance, and Utah kick returner Reggie Dunn was named the special teams player of the week.

Flowers, who was also named national linebacker of the week by the College Football Performance Awards, wasn't the only Wildcat honored Monday. The Manning Award named Scott one of its eight "Stars of the Week," a day after the quarterback was named the Walter Camp Player of the Week.

Extra points

• Lost in Arizona's upset was the performance of punter Kyle Dugandzic. The senior boomed four punts inside USC's 15, including one that pinned the Trojans at their 13-yard line with 55 seconds remaining.

Dugandzic said it was the biggest kick of his career.

"We needed to give them a long field to drive," he said. "The further they have to drive, the less likely they'll score a touchdown."

• Arizona's Nov. 10 homecoming game against Colorado will start at 11:30 a.m. and be televised on FX, the schools announced Monday. The morning kickoff will be Arizona's earliest of the season.

On StarNet: Chat with Ryan Finley about college football at noon Thursday at live.azstarnet.com

Up next

• Who: No. 24 Arizona (5-3, 2-3) at No. 25 UCLA (6-2, 3-2)

• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

• TV: Pac-12 Network

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

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