No. 20 Arizona sets records in rout of NAU
TUCSON, Ariz. — For a little more than a quarter of the game, No. 20 Arizona was having all sorts of trouble with Northern Arizona.
Then the Wildcats overwhelmed the Lumberjacks with an avalanche of school records.
Anu Solomon completed 25 of 35 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns in a little more than a half of play, and Arizona set team marks for points and total yards in a 77-13 rout of the outmatched FCS school.
The Wildcats (3-0) broke their record for points set in a 74-0 win 94 years ago over the school now known as UTEP. Arizona’s 792 yards eclipsed the mark of 787 set against UNLV last season.
Their 499 yards rushing broke the school record of 492 set against Eastern Michigan in 1988. Arizona tied the team mark of 11 touchdowns in a game, also set in that 1921 win over UTEP. The Wildcats’ 35 second-quarter points were one shy of the most in school history.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said those numbers don’t mean much now, not with the Pac-12 opener against No. 10 UCLA looming next Saturday.
"It will be nice to talk about for a day," he said. "After tomorrow’s film, other than corrections, we’ll be moving on for sure."
Solomon’s backup, Jerrard Randall, scored on runs of 73 and 72 yards. Third-stringer Brandon Dawkins had a 43-yard TD run, and fourth-string quarterback Zach Werlinger ran 11 yards for a score.
"It was fun watching everyone do what they do," Randall said.
Solomon also had a 1-yard TD run, meaning all four quarterbacks ran for a score. The sophomore has thrown 10 touchdown passes with no interceptions this season.
Nick Wilson rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns, and David Richards caught eight passes for 120 yards and two scores.
"Offensively I think we’re executing really well," Richards said. "I think that’s going to help us going into next week. If we can stay on the same page as we did the first three games, and like tonight, I think we can roll into the Pac-12 really hard."
Arizona scored 63 straight points after the Lumberjacks (2-1) cut the Wildcats’ lead to 14-13 in the second quarter.
Case Cookus completed 8 of 13 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown for Northern Arizona and didn’t play in the second half.
"I feel bad for my guys," Lumberjacks coach Jerome Souers said, "because I know they played hard and they played well at times."
Arizona wrapped up its less-than-challenging nonconference schedule that also included wins over UTSA and Nevada.
"This is a whole different level of game now," Wildcats safety Anthony Lopez said.
Arizona scored touchdowns on six of seven first-half possessions, with drives that took 1:47, 3:03, 1:27, 1:18, 2:41 and 1:44.
Randall, on his first play in relief of Solomon, ran 72 yards for a score and added a 73-yarder before Dawkins replaced him.
It didn’t look like a record-breaking night early.
The Lumberjacks trailed 14-13 after Emannnuel Butler beat Arizona’s Cam Denson and caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from Cookus with 11:52 left in the half.
The high-speed Arizona offense took off from there. Solomon completed four of five passes on a six-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 27-yard toss to Richards and it was 21-13.
Three plays later, Cookus threw his first interception of the season, with Davonte’ Neal picking it off at the NAU 37. After an offensive pass interference penalty, Wilson ran 43 yards to the 9. He carried it 8 yards to the 1, then punched it in for the score.
Solomon’s second TD pass to Richards boosted the lead to 35-13, and the Wildcats got one more touchdown before halftime. Solomon ran 16 yards to the NAU 1, and Wilson carried it in from there.
Solomon got one more TD pass in the third quarter before calling it a night.
The Wildcats improved to 13-1 against the Lumberjacks, who open Big Sky play at Montana on Saturday.
- Anthony Lopez
- Anu Solomon
- Arizona Wildcats
- Brandon Dawkins
- Cam Denson
- David Richards
- Davonte' Neal
- FOX Sports Arizona
- FOX Sports Arizona - Arizona Wildcats
- FOX Sports Arizona - NAU Lumberjacks
- Jerrard Randall
- Nick Wilson
- Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
- Zach Werlinger