Matt Scott wasn't just acting the part of starting quarterback when, in the minutes following Saturday's 44-14 win over Washington, he praised his Arizona Wildcats teammates for getting the job done.
The UA (6-1 overall, 3-1 Pac-10) played arguably its most balanced game of the season after an uneven few weeks that slowed their ascent to the top 10 in the national polls. The Wildcats offense put up 467 yards in the rout over the Huskies - 234 on the ground and 233 through the air. The Wildcats defense was stellar against the pass, two weeks after getting torched by Oregon State and its first-year starting quarterback, Ryan Katz.
Even Arizona's special teams, so up-and-down through the first half of the season, showed up in full force.
"This certainly was a good overall team win for us," coach Mike Stoops said. "We had a great week of preparation."
Saturday's win was about much more than the quarterback. Here are three position groups that stood out:
What they did: Keola Antolin and Nicolas Grigsby combined to gain 164 yards and score four touchdowns against a Washington defense that allows more than 200 rushing yards per game. Antolin's 78-yard run was a game-breaker, giving the UA a 24-14 lead in the second quarter.
Unsung hero: Antolin. The hard-charging junior has quietly established himself as the Wildcats' No. 1 tailback in the last two weeks. Coaches love his ability to hit holes and absorb contact. On Saturday, he averaged 8.1 yards per carry.
He said it: "It was the most complete game we've had." - Antolin
What they did: The Wildcats' five starters did a good job of protecting Scott in his first start of the year, limiting Washington's defense to just two sacks. Arizona quarterbacks were taken down six times in the previous week's 24-7 win over Washington State.
Unsung hero: Jovon Hayes. The UA's fill-in right guard recovered from a dreadful game against Washington State. In part because of his efforts, the Wildcats were able to get good "surge" over the right side.
He said it: "We challenged the offensive line to be more physical, to protect the quarterback. Everybody really responded positively this week." - coach Mike Stoops
What they did: Arizona's defensive front dominated Washington's offensive line, combining for 22 tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery while limiting quarterback Jake Locker's ability to run. Battling a rib injury that limited his mobility all night, the Huskies' speedy senior sneaked the ball just twice.
Unsung hero: Sione Tuihalamaka. Starting for injured nose tackle Justin Washington, Tuihalamaka finished with three tackles and a sack.
He said it: "Their defensive ends did what we thought they were capable of. They got constant pressure and really disrupted what we wanted to do offensively." - Washington coach Steve Sarkisian
• What: Arizona at UCLA
• When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM
AP TOP 25
With first-place votes in parentheses, records through Oct. 23 and previous ranking.
1. Oregon (44) 7-0 1
2. Boise St. (11) 6-0 2
3. Auburn (3) 8-0 5
4. TCU (2) 8-0 4
5. Michigan St. 8-0 8
6. Alabama 7-1 7
7. Missouri 7-0 18
8. Utah 7-0 9
9. Wisconsin 7-1 10
10. Ohio St. 7-1 11
11. Oklahoma 6-1 3
12. LSU 7-1 6
13. Stanford 6-1 12
14. Nebraska 6-1 14
15. Arizona 6-1 15
16. Florida St. 6-1 16
17. South Carolina 5-2 19
18. Iowa 5-2 13
19. Arkansas 5-2 21
20. Oklahoma St. 6-1 17
21. Virginia Tech 6-2 23
22. Miami 5-2 25
23. Mississippi St. 6-2 24
24. Southern Cal 5-2 -
25. Baylor 6-2 -
Others receiving votes: Nevada 32, Hawaii 19, Michigan 9, Syracuse 8, West Virginia 8, East Carolina 7, San Diego St. 7, Navy 5, Oregon St. 5, Northwestern 4, Florida 2, Maryland 1, N. Illinois 1, N.C. State 1.