ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Cats pass the first subject

Play of two QBs solid; run game gets incomplete
2010-09-06T00:00:00Z 2012-11-30T19:30:50Z Cats pass the first subjectRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 06, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The Arizona Wildcats were stellar in Friday night's 41-2 rout of Toledo, moving the ball at will and punching in six touchdowns against an overmatched Rockets defense.

"I wouldn't say everything was perfect," wide receiver Juron Criner said, "but the guys were having a lot of fun."

Now all they have to do is replicate the performance 11 times against - with the exception of The Citadel on Saturday - much tougher programs.

Arizona's offensive future is a fascinating subject. If Friday's game was any indication, the UA could use a no-huddle attack to zoom through the season. History dictates the team must establish a running game to compete for a Pac-10 title, however.

Here are three questions to think about as the Wildcats move into Week 2:

1. How much will Matt Scott play?

The Wildcats backup quarterback took 18 snaps Friday, and not just in mop-up time.

Coaches summoned Scott in the second quarter after Toledo punter John Penza pinned Arizona at its own 4-yard line.

Scott handed off on his first two plays; on third down, he deftly avoided a Rockets blitz and sneaked 11 yards for what should have been a first down. Unfortunately for Scott, UA guard Conan Amituanai was called for a hold in the end zone. Toledo was awarded a safety, its only points of the night.

"It was a bad situation, and Matt got us out of there - except we got called for the penalty," quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo said. "There were a couple of plays we wanted to get him involved in, throwing down the field, and he really did a good job with them."

Scott completed 5 of 7 passes for 53 yards; he connected with Keola Antolin on a 5-yard touchdown play early in the fourth quarter.

So, could Scott play more? Only coach Mike Stoops knows - and he's not telling secrets.

"That's something you're going to have to talk to the big dog about," Foles said. "He's the one who makes the decisions."

2. Will the UA throw as often?

The Cats threw 44 passes Friday while rushing just 25 times.

On the surface, the stats go against coaches' stated desire to establish the run. The UA averaged 4.2 yards per carry Friday night against an undersized MAC team; minus Nicolas Grigsby's 36-yard touchdown run, the Wildcats gained just 69 yards on 24 carries.

"I wasn't overly pleased with our overall run game, but I thought we threw the ball exceptionally well," Stoops said.

So what gives with all the passing?

Arizona could have simply been taking advantage of Toledo, which allowed 241.4 passing yards per game a year ago. The Wildcats could have been eager to test out a no-huddle offense.

Or, Arizona could have just stuck with what worked.

Foles was perfect on his first drive, and wasn't really challenged all night.

3. Who's Arizona's No. 1 running back - or backs?

Antolin started, rushing for 5 yards on the Wildcats' first play, but Grigsby led the team in carries (eight), yards (53) and yards per carry (6.6) for those with at least two runs.

It may not matter who's listed first on the depth chart when it's released today. The Wildcats unveiled a "two-back" shotgun attack Friday; if they stick with it, Grigsby and Antolin could both start this week.

Regardless of who plays more, Arizona's coaches believe they have a veteran, versatile group that can win games in many different ways.

"When you know what you're doing," Scelfo said, "it's a lot easier."

Where the Wildcats rank after Week 1:

21st nationally in total offense (518 yards per game)

19th nationally in pass efficiency (180.90 QB rating)

14th nationally in total defense (183 yards allowed per game)

10th nationally in scoring defense (2 points allowed per game)

Up next

• What: The Citadel at Arizona

• When: 7 p.m., Saturday

• TV: Channel 58

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

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