Ratings, quotes and stats from the Arizona Wildcats’ 38-20 season-opening win over SDSU | Arizona Wildcats Football

The Arizona Wildcats defeated San Diego State 38-20 in the season opener Saturday afternoon at Snapdragon Stadium. Here are some relevant notes, quotes and stats on AU’s upset victory:

REMARKS

* The Wildcats won a season opener on the road for the first time since 2010 (41-2 at Toledo). They also picked up their first road win under Jedd Fisch and their first road victory since October 5, 2019 in Colorado.

* Arizona ended a four-year season opener losing streak. It was the Wildcats’ first season opener since a 62-24 victory over NAU in 2017 and their first season opener win over an FBS opponent since losing UTSA in 2015.

* The Wildcats’ 38 points were the most on the program since a 56-38 loss to Oregon State on Nov. 2, 2019. Arizona’s 24 points in the first half were the most scored in the first half of a game since scoring 24 against Stanford in 2019 (L, 41-31) and more points than the Cats scored in 10 of their 12 games last season.

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* The Wildcats’ 18-point margin of victory was the largest since beating NAU 65-41 in 2019.

*QB Laura’s Jayden threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns, the latter matching his career high (set at Washington State against Arizona last season). That total was the highest by a Wildcat in its UA debut since anu solomon threw four against UNLV in 2014. It was also the first four TD performance by a UA quarterback since Khalil Tate vs. WSU on November 17, 2018.

* De Laura threw three or more touchdown passes six times during his college career. His teams are undefeated in these games.

*WR Jacob Cowing set a career high and tied the AU record with three touchdown receptions. The last Wildcat to do so was Cayleb Jones vs. Cal on September 20, 2014.

* Tetairoa McMillan became the first true freshman wide receiver to catch a touchdown pass in his first career game in at least 27 years, according to the UA Sports Information Department.

* Freshman in red shirt Dalton Johnson blocked a punt on SDSU’s second drive, the first of his career. Arizona led the Pac-12 and ranked 17th nationally with two blocked punts in 2021.

* Linebacker jerry robert led the team and set a career high with 12 tackles. He had 10 tackles twice in a game, once for Arizona (Nov. 13, 2021, vs. Utah) and once for Bowling Green.

* Arizona’s defense limited San Diego State to 62 passing yards, the fifth time in the past two seasons the Wildcat has limited an opponent to less than 100 yards through the air.

* Arizona had two takeaways, marking the first time the Wildcats have forced more than one turnover since Oct. 9, 2021 against UCLA. The Wildcats only had one total takeaway in their last seven games last season.

* Arizona defeated San Diego State 461-232. In last year’s game, the Aztecs beat the Wildcats 454-230.

* San Diego State had four tackles for a loss and a sack (in the fourth quarter with the game essentially decided). The Aztecs had 11 TFLs and four sacks in last year’s meeting.

* Fisch gave game balls to six people: defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen (first game as DC), from Laura, Cowing, defensive tackle Paris Shand (forced fumble), linebacker Kolbe Cage (recovery of escapees) and safety Jaxen Turner (interception).

QUOTATION

Fisch on victory and the future: “We are just getting started. We are building this. We really believe we could build something special in Arizona, but it’s going to take time. We just tell our players to keep trusting the process and good things will come.

Fisch on the meaning of victory: “It means we are 1-0. We come back tomorrow, we go to work and we try to leave 1-0 (next) on Saturday. The guys played well and they competed really hard. What’s important for our guys is to keep playing like the Wildcats…to trust the process, to play with passion, to love their teammates, to accept the grind. Training won’t be easier tomorrow. We have a very good opponent (1-0 Mississippi State) to prepare for.

Fisch on overcoming the “here we go again” mentality: “We tried to emphasize every day that we could that it’s 2022. Don’t look back and think that because maybe something happened last year and we didn’t couldn’t get over it who (who) had something to do with this year Just play the next game every game and don’t focus on what could have been or what just happened or how we We’ve been caught in one situation or another. Just see if we can continue to be strong mentally.

From Laura on winning: “It was good to get a win with those guys. All the hard work we’ve done in the offseason with the guys that have been on the team, what they’ve been through for the last two years , to get the first game out and show what we can do… and we’ve got a lot of stuff we left on the pitch.

From Laura on the performance of Arizona freshmen: “It’s kind of what we expect of them. This isn’t just an ordinary group of freshmen. I came with the right mindset, I came to work. They knew that the expectations set for them were very high. They did a very good job.

Roberts on the mentality of the team: “Throughout camp, the only people who knew what we were capable of was us. We had the mindset that we were the dominators and not the underdogs.

SDSU Coach Brady Hoke on the loss: “Offensively and defensively we need to improve a lot for the net week. Looking at our tackle, (it was) excruciating. It’s as bad as I’ve seen our team do in a long time. … The training, starting with me, was not very good.

STATISTICS

* Arizona had 25 first downs; SDSU was 14

* Arizona rushed for 162 yards; SDSU rushed for 170

* Arizona averaged 6.2 yards per play; SDSU averaged 4.0

* Arizona possessed the ball for 32 minutes, 37 seconds; SDSU had it for 27:23

* Arizona converted 6 of 13 third downs; SDSU converted 2 of 11

* Arizona has scored touchdowns on 4 of 5 trips inside the red zone; SDSU was 1 of 4

* Arizona had 4 penalties for 35 yards; SDSU had 6 for 37

* Arizona’s average starting position was their 28-yard line; The SDSU was his 34

* AU plug DJ Williams had a game-high 88 yards on 14 carries

*Arizona DE Jalen Harris had 8 career-high tackles and 1 sack

* Arizona Turner safeties and young christian each had 7 tackles and 1 TFL

Contact sportswriter Michael Lev at 573-4148 or mlev@tucson.com. On Twitter @michaeljlev

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