Wildcats report (11.15): Slow starts a problem for defense

By Anthony Gimino

TUCSON — Does the Arizona defense come out flat in games, or does it simply play poorly at the start, which then leads to a flat emotional performance?

It’s hard to say what the cause and effect actually is, but the numbers are irrefutable.

The Wildcats have allowed their opponent to score a touchdown on its opening drive in five of the past six games, often putting Arizona into positions where it is trying (unsuccessfully) to catch up for the entire game.

See the Oregon State, Stanford and USC games for more information.

Arizona allowed each of those teams to score seven points on the first drive, and the Wildcats never led in any of their three losses.

Here are the gory details about Arizona’s problems on its first defensive series:

— Oregon State: 8 plays, 68 yards, TD.
— Washington: 4 plays, 62 yards, TD.
— UCLA: 4 plays, 45 yards, TD.
— Stanford: 9 plays, 50 yards, TD.
— USC: 10 plays, 80 yards, TD.