Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Farewell to 2016: Arizona Wildcats

It was a season of highs and lows in the PAC-12 in 2016. The Washington Huskies turned a major corner, making it to the national semifinal before getting smothered by Alabama. The Huskies were one of four teams that won 10 games or more. On the flip side, half of the teams in the conference finished under .500, including two major surprise teams in Oregon and UCLA. The conference's prize QB, Josh Rosen, was injured for most of the season, and under performed when he was available, and Jake Browning became the new star QB of the conference until being upstaged by Sam Darnold at USC. The biggest story was the emergence of the Colorado Buffaloes, who shocked everyone by winning the South. Here is our farewell to the 2016 season, team by team, in the PAC-12...

Arizona Wildcats
3-9 (1-8)

2016 Schedule
Lost to BYU 18-16
Beat Grambling 31-21
Beat Hawaii 47-28
Lost to Washington 35-28
Lost to UCLA 45-24
Lost to Utah 36-23
Lost to USC 48-14
Lost to Stanford 34-10
Lost to Washington State 69-7
Lost to Colorado 49-24
Lost to Oregon State 42-17
Beat Arizona State 56-35

MVP Offense: QB Brandon Dawkins
Make no mistake, the Wildcats were entirely awful in 2016, and scored just 24.8 points per game. Dawkins was not nearly a perfect, nor even decent, QB in 2016, but he did things that nobody else was doing, and probably had too much on his shoulders. He passed for 1345 yards and 8 scores, while tossing 6 INTs in 10 games. Remember, he was not supposed to be the starter, but Anu Solomon never got it together between injuries and lack of overall focus, and so Dawkins had to step up. He is always better on his feet as a runner, and led the team with 944 yards rushing, and he ran for another 10 scores.  MVP Defense: None
Arizona allowed 38.3 points per game, and allowed 35 points or more 9 times. It was impossible to find a standout on this unit. Arizona allowed 275 yards passing per game, and 194 yards rushing per game, so defense was not exactly something that was taken all that seriously, which has always been a Rich Rodriguez problem dating back to his days at Michigan.  Others of Note
Solomon played in only 5 games at QB, and was held to an average of just 93 yards per game. He transferred out of the program after the season, landing at Baylor after drawing interest from UNLV. 
Arizona rushed for 235 yards per game, but the best actual RB was Samajie Grant, who ran for only 461 yards on the season. Arizona never developed a number one back. 
Nate Phillips was the only receiver that caught 30 or more passes (33).
LB Paul Magliore, Jr.. led the team with 81 tackles on the season. 
LB Micahel Barton recorded 8 TFLs, but Arizona only recorded 59 on the season, while the offense allowed 73.
Arizona allowed 28 sacks. 
Arizona had a deficiency of +10 on tackles this season, as they recorded 68 tackles per game, but forced just 58 on offense. 
Arizona was penalized 8.7 times per game in their 3 wins, and was penalized 7.1 times per game at home. The numbers were lower in losses and on the road. 
Best Win: Arizona State 56-35
The Wildcats were on an eight game losing streak in (all in conference play) before ending the season with their arch rival Sun Devils. Arizona State was also on a bad run, but it was Arizona who refused to quit in the 21 point win that was also their best, and most complete game of the season. Getting the win over the hated Devils was just a nice cherry on what had been a really terrible sunday.  Worst Loss: Washington State 69-7, Oregon State 42-17
THe Wildcats just never got off the bus against the Cougars, and found themselves buried before they got started. Washington State started punding on Arizona and just never let up.
The loss to Oregon State was an indicator as to how far Oregon state was coming along, and how far back Arizona was falling. These programs are now switching power position in the loaded conference.  2017 Non Conference Schedule: 9/2 Northern Arizona, 9/9 Houston, 9/16 at UTEP
This is an interesting non con schedule for the Wildcats, who very much need to get off to a very quick start to gain some footing heading into conference play. The game against NAU is a win, as will be the game at UTEP. The Houston game will be an enigma based on what Houston has coming to the plate after what will be a complete off season change over. 

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