Updated Oct 21, 2012 - 12:46 am
Arizona rolls over Washington 52-17 after bye
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - After three straight losses to ranked opponents and six weeks of playing at a breakneck pace, no team needed its bye week more than Arizona.
The Wildcats certainly made the most of it.
Refreshed and mostly recuperated from a grinding first half of the season, Arizona raced out of its bye week with perhaps its most complete game under coach Rich Rodriguez, rolling over Washington 52-17 Saturday night.
Matt Scott threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns, Ka'Deem Carey ran for 172 yards and the Wildcats scored 31 points in the first half to turn what was supposed to be a tight game into a rout.
"It feels good to come out and actually finish off this game," said Carey, who scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter. "When you do this against a good team like Washington, all you can do is celebrate."
It had been a while since the Wildcats had a chance to.
Arizona (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) opened its first season under Rodriguez with three straight wins, then hit a gauntlet of ranked teams to open conference play, getting beat up and worn down while losing all three.
Though still not completely healthy _ several players were out or still dinged up _ the Wildcats certainly seemed refreshed, having their way with Washington's defense from the opening drive on their way to eclipsing 500 total yards (533) for the sixth time this season.
Scott finished 14 of 22, throwing two touchdowns to Austin Hill, and ran for another score. Carey wasn't dropped for a loss once in 29 carries, Richard Morrison added a 63-yard touchdown on a punt return and the defense harassed Washington's Keith Price all night to give Rodriguez his first Pac-12 win.
"We gave great effort in all three phases for all four quarters, and that's the first time we've done that all year," Rodriguez said. "We played really hard and put it all together."
The Huskies (3-4, 1-3) had no chance against Arizona's fast-paced offense, allowing Arizona to score on its first five possessions, and Price had another so-so game amid the Wildcats' constant pressure.
The Huskies' junior matched Scott with 256 yards passing, but his line didn't look quite as good, needing 52 attempts to get there and with two interceptions to offset his one touchdown. He also was sacked four times and had to throw the ball out of bounds under pressure numerous other times, leading to Washington's third straight loss.
"I'll have to look at the film from a fundamental standpoint, but I know from watching him off the field and on game days, I didn't like what I saw from him tonight," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. "It seemed like he had some doubt in his mind."
Washington struggled the last time it faced an up-tempo team, losing to Oregon 52-21. It at least gave the Huskies a chance to see what it's like to play against a no-huddle offense, which should have helped them against Arizona.
Snapping the ball almost as soon as the officials placed it, the Wildcats picked Washington's defense apart behind Carey's quick-burst running and Scott's pinpoint passing.
Scott set Pac-12 records for completions (45) and attempts (69) while throwing for 491 yards and three touchdowns in Arizona's 54-48 loss to Stanford two weeks ago.
The fifth-year senior didn't have to work quite as hard against Washington.
He opened by getting two Washington defenders to bite on a pump fake to set up a floating, 27-yard touchdown pass to David Richards.
Scott did it next with his legs, scoring on a 1-yard run, then his arm, finding Garic Wharton on a 33-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-3 to put Arizona up 24-3. He also had a quick answer to Washington's first touchdown _ a 6-yard pass from Price to Austin Seferian-Jenkins _ by hitting Hill on a 53-yard touchdown.
Scott's only real mistake came in the closing seconds of the first half, when he was hit, and his fluttering pass was picked off by Washington linebacker Travis Feeney at midfield. He rumbled to the 3-yard line, setting up Bishop Sankey's 1-yard touchdown run that cut Arizona's lead to 31-17 at halftime.
The miscue did little to slow the Wildcats down.
Arizona gained about 10 yards when the teams traded fumbles near midfield, and Hill followed with his second touchdown catch, sending Washington's Sean Parker to the turf with a wicked stiff-arm on his way to a 17-yard touchdown.
Morrison followed with his punt return touchdown, and Carey opened the fourth quarter with his touchdown run to put Arizona up 52-17 and send the Huskies home with an ugly loss.
"I'm extremely disappointed," Sarkisian said. "I envisioned a much different outcome, that's for sure."
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