Arizona Wildcats scouting report
Head coach: Jedd Fisch, 2nd season (3-13, 4-14 career)
This season: 2-2, 0-1 Pac-12
Last week: Lost at California, 49-31
5 Players to Watch
• WR Jacob Cowing: After transferring in from UTEP, Cowing has caught 28 passes for 386 yards and six touchdowns – leading the Pac-12 in all three categories.
• QB Jayden de Laura: A transfer from Washington State, he has thrown for 1,149 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 60.1 percent of his passes.
• DE Hunter Echols: After five years at USC, Echols came to Arizona and he’s off to a great start. He has 22 tackles and leads the team with two sacks and 4.5 TFLs.
• LB Jerry Roberts: In his second year at Arizona, the former Bowling Green transfer is having his best season. He leads the Wildcats with 35 tackles and has a fumble recovery.
• RB Michael Wiley: The Wildcats’ top rusher has averaged 6.0 yards per carry (35 att., 210 yards) and he has reached the end zone three times. He has scored at least one touchdown in eight of his last 10 games.
Led by de Laura and Cowing, the Wildcats have transformed their offense this season. They were last in the Pac-12 in scoring last year at 17.2 points per game. This year, they are posting 29.3 per game. De Laura gives them an experienced veteran running the show, but Cowing, Dorian Singer and Tetairoa McMillan have been dangerous weapons at receiver. The run game hasn’t been dynamic, but Michael Wiley has found success when given an opportunity.
Very much a work in progress, as the Wildcats are allowing 34.0 points and 416.0 yards per game. Like the Buffs, they’ve struggled quite a bit against the run, giving up 228.3 yards per game. In the last two games, that number has been 318.5. Against the pass, the Wildcats rank 128th nationally in opponent completion percentage (71.4) and 118th in pass efficiency defense (156.0). With possibly five freshmen or sophomores in the starting lineup, the Wildcats are hoping for positive signs of progress.
Arizona special teams
Tyler Loop is just a sophomore, but already one of the most accurate kickers in the country. So far in his career, he’s 16-for-17 on field goals, including 4-for-5 this year, and 27-for-27 on extra points. He hasn’t been asked to kick a long field goal, though, as his career long is 43 yards. Punter Kyle Ostendorp is off to a great start to the season, averaging 48.8 yards on 11 punts, with six of them traveling at least 50 yards. Dorian Singer has averaged 11.5 yards on two punt returns, while Anthony Simpson has posted a 22.7-yard average on three kickoff returns.
How Arizona can win
So far this season, Arizona has been fairly efficient on offense. If the Wildcats can do that again and finish drives with touchdowns, they should be able to come out of Arizona Stadium with a win. Defensively, the Wildcats need to have their best performance of the year and can do that by gaining confidence with early stops. Arizona also has to avoid big mistakes that can keep Colorado in the game.
• Receiver Jacob Cowing has caught at least one pass in 36 consecutive games, which technically ranks second in FBS among active players. Minnesota’s Chris Autman-Bell has a longer streak (41 games), but he suffered a season-ending injury against CU two weeks ago.
• Arizona has already matched last year’s total in takeaways, with six. The Wildcats have forced at least one turnover in three of four games.
• The Wildcats welcomed 50 new players to the roster this year, including nine transfers from other FBS schools. That transfer list includes Cowing, de Laura and Echols.
• Like CU head coach Karl Dorrell, Arizona’s Jedd Fisch once worked as the receivers coach for the Denver Broncos. Fisch worked in Denver in 2008. Prior to coming to Arizona last year, Fisch had spent 13 of the previous 19 seasons coaching in the NFL.
• True freshman receiver Tetairoa McMillan was Arizona’s top recruit in the 2022 class. He’s flashing his play-making ability already with 11 catches for 200 yards and two touchdowns. His 18.2-yards per catch average leads the team.