The Arizona Wildcats were projected to crush the Colorado Buffaloes in terms of both total yards and points scored. How many yards, though? How did you get so many points?
On Saturday night, only Arizona was able to slow down Arizona’s offense. In front of an announced crowd of 36,591, the Wildcats defeated the Buffaloes 43-20. The Wildcats racked up 673 yards of offense.
The win broke a string of two losses against Colorado. They are now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-12. The Buffaloes’ dismal record now stands at (0-5, 0-2). To score more than 40 points for the first time since September 7, 2019, against NAU, Arizona needed quarterback Jayden de Laura to tie Tom Tunnicliffe’s 40-year-old school record.
For the second consecutive week, De Laura threw for over 400 yards. He did so in consecutive games, making him the first UA quarterback to do so since Matt Scott in 2012. Jacob Cowing and Dorian Singer both had 100-yard receiving games. Twelve passes were caught by Cowing, who gained 180 yards and a touchdown. Singer hauled in nine passes for 163 yards and one touchdown.
The Buffaloes’ run defense, overall defense, and points allowed all ranked in the bottom 10 in the country coming into this week for Colorado. Every game this season, the Buffs have given up at least 38 points and fallen short by at least 23.
Arizona had a 26-13 halftime lead despite amassing 400 yards of offense. In the third quarter, the score was 36-20, and it remained a two-possession game going into the final period.
As the period progressed, the Wildcats’ defense made a crucial stop on the fourth play. From the UA 43, Hunter Echols sacked the quarterback and then intercepted a swing ball intended for the right flat, resulting in a fourth-and-3. The ball was diverted away from the goal by Anthony Hankerson’s hand and onto the grass.
The Wildcats of Arizona eventually put together the game-winning drive. Cowing caught both of his targets for a combined 30-yard gain. In the end, Michael Wiley, who finished the night with two touchdowns, caught de Laura’s 5-yard touchdown pass to tie the record.
Echols sacked Owen McCown at the UA 16, preventing Colorado from within two scores again. The ball was fumbled and Paris Shand was able to collect it. For the better part of the first half, Arizona’s ball movement was smooth. The Wildcats had 400 total yards, 273 of which came from de Laura’s pass offense. In the first quarter alone, Singer caught six passes for 122 yards and a score.
In the opening period, Arizona scored twice on two possessions. On the opening drive, de Laura found Michael Wiley on a 7-yard touchdown throw. The successful third-down convert was Arizona’s second of the season. As far back as last season, that was Wiley’s eighth touchdown in the last 10 games. He now has 10 touchdowns in his last 10 games.
As for the second touchdown drive, it was on a fourth-down try that they finally succeeded. At the 3-yard line on fourth down, de Laura found Jacob Cowing for his eighth touchdown pass of the season. Less than halfway through the season, he needs four more to tie the UA single-season record. Unfortunately, the extra point attempt was unsuccessful due to a problem during the exchange, leaving the score at 13-7.
When Arizona got the ball back, it was fourth down and goal again. The Buffaloes jammed Wiley for no gain from the 1-yard line, and the Wildcats were unable to convert. The UA defense made another timely stop, giving the ball back to the offense. Arizona only needed three plays to increase their lead, with most of the effort coming from Singer.
The Wildcats advanced 5 yards after his reception of 36 yards. Then, at the end zone’s back, Singer scored his first career touchdown by tipping the ball to himself. Another Wildcat scored his first touchdown after making his debut after a defensive stand. When it came to the tight end position, After catching an out route, Tanner McLachlan avoided a tackle and barreled 8 yards for a touchdown. With 3 minutes and 42 seconds left in the half, Arizona’s lead was increased to 26-7.
Arizona had a terrific chance to regain possession after both teams went three and out. A penalty for sideline interference changed the Buffs’ third-and-10 from their own 35 to a first down at the 50. Then, on a ball from McCown to Deion Smith that went for 41 yards, the Wildcats missed five tackles. The score was 26-13 after McCown completed a touchdown pass to Daniel Arias.
Arizona had 1 minute and five seconds to try to score again. Teairra McMillan, a rookie receiver, made a remarkable one-handed grab that set up a field goal attempt for the Wildcats. At the final horn, Tyler Loop’s 42-yard field goal attempt went wide right.