Matt Scott tore apart the UW defense with his arm and his legs in leading the Wildcats to a surprisingly easy 44-14 win in front of 56,244 at Arizona Stadium.
TUCSON, Ariz. — So much for the Washington Huskies supposedly getting a big break by facing Arizona’s backup quarterback, Matt Scott, instead of starter Nick Foles.
It’s hard to imagine Foles could have had any more success than Scott, who tore apart the UW defense with his arm and his legs in leading the Wildcats to a surprisingly easy 44-14 win in front of 56,244 at Arizona Stadium.
“I wasn’t anticipating that at all,” said UW coach Steve Sarkisian, reciting the stats of Scott, who got his first start of the season in place of the injured Foles, who hurt his knee last week at Washington State.
Scott, a junior, had been Arizona’s starter the first three games of 2009 but was then benched. But he looked like an all-conference player against the Huskies, completing 18 of 22 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 65 yards on seven carries in sending UW to a devastating defeat.
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The performance of Scott and the Arizona offense seemed to make moot the pregame worry over the health of UW quarterback Jake Locker, who had sore ribs that dates to last week’s win over Oregon State, as well as a few other issues.
“He’s beat up,” Sarkisian said, saying he limited some of the things Washington has done successfully in other games that called for Locker to run the ball. “I didn’t want to expose him (to a lot of hits).”
Washington is 3-4 overall and 2-2 in Pac-10 play after a performance that typified its inconsistent season.
The Huskies hoped the 35-34 double overtime win over Oregon State last Saturday had them back on the path to a bowl game. Instead, those aspirations took a heavy hit. UW has to win three of its final five just to get to 6-6, with its next two games coming next Saturday at home against No. 12 Stanford and then at No. 1 Oregon.
“There was a lot of miscommunication and we definitely didn’t have the sense of urgency coming out to the game,” said running back Jesse Callier. “We’ve got to get that up next week.”
Other than taking a 7-0 lead its first possession after forcing a fumble, there were few highlights for the Huskies, who never figured out a way to stop Arizona’s offense — and couldn’t move consistently after the early score.
Arizona led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, then outscored UW 20-7 in the second quarter to take command.
“The game went south quickly,” Sarkisian said.
Things got so bad that Arizona scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter when Scott fumbled a snap, then threw 21 yards into the end zone for a touchdown to Juron Criner. UW also had two penalties on the play.
“That was kind of a microcosm of the whole night,” Sarkisian said.
Arizona led 30-14 at halftime, amassing an astonishing 356 yards, more than UW had allowed in beating Oregon State last week, including the two overtimes. It was also more than Arizona had gained in beating Washington State last week (352).
Sarkisian said the key was that the Huskies couldn’t get any pressure on Scott.
“The worst case scenario of what could have happened, happened tonight,” he said. “Our inability to get pressure on a guy making his first start of the year really hurt us. We weren’t able to generate the pass rush we thought we could.”
After UW drove 62 yards for a TD the first time it had the ball, Arizona dominated.
Scott went 14 of 16 in the first half for 186 yards and one touchdown while the Wildcats also rushed for 170 yards on 36 carries.
Sarkisian called a 92-yard drive early in the second quarter as a turning point. Still, UW came back from that to cut the lead to 17-14 with 7:55 left in the quarter.
But any momentum was quickly extinguished as Arizona running back Keola Antolin ran up the middle 78 yards for a touchdown on the Wildcats’ first play of their next possession.
Arizona tacked on another touchdown late in the second quarter. Locker then fumbled to start the third quarter and Arizona quickly drove for another touchdown and as Sarkisian said “that was pretty much the ballgame.”
“I thought we would come out with a little more energy and play a lot better football game today,” said Locker, who was 17 of 29 for 183 yards and a touchdown. “So that’s disappointing. But I think going forward we will put this one behind us, like we always do, and go out and have a good week of practice again and get ready for another football game.”
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or email@example.com.
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