Is the defense as bad as we think?

Brad Allis

On the surface giving up 13 first half points to NAU was not terrible and the second half saw the defense use a lot of back-ups and young players. But were there any good performances by the defense? I decided to break things up a quarter by quarter. A good defensive effort would be 75 yards or less and no scores. A decent performance would be 100 yards or less and surrender seven points or less.

In eight quarters of football the defense had just three quarters where they gave up seven points or less and just one where they have up 75 yards or less. Keep in mind that 75 yards a quarter is still 300 yards, which in modern football is a pretty good showing.

In the third quarter against Hawaii Arizona gave up just a single touchdown, but also allowed the Warriors to amass 151 yards. How did they keep them from scoring? They forced a trio of turnovers. It was also the only quarter that Arizona had the time of possession edge.

In the other three quarters they gave up 10-14 points and 111 yards or more.

Defensive numbers vs. Hawaii:

Quarter
Yards
Points

1st Quarter

111

14

2nd Quarter

188

14

3rd Quarter

151

7

4th Quarter

117

10

Totals

595

45

Against NAU the first half numbers are okay, but not good enough against an FCS opponent. In the first quarter the Wildcats gave up a single touchdown and 101 yards. The second quarter saw them give up two field goals and just 70 yards. I would argue that the defense was decent that half, though hardly dominant.

The second half was not as good. The third quarter was particularly rough as the Wildcats allowed two NAU scores and 158 yards of offense. It may have been worse had they not intercepted Case Cookus. The fourth quarter was much of the same, with two more touchdowns and 114 yards. One of those scores was by back-up Heath Beemiller who was the team’s No. 3 QB in the season opener against Missouri State.

Defensive Numbers vs. NAU:

Quarter
Yards
Points

1st Quarter

101

7

2nd Quarter

70

6

3rd Quarter

157

14

4th Quarter

114

14

Totals

442

41

That may be the most frustrating thing about the NAU game. The Lumberjacks put up nearly the same offensive numbers against their season opening FCS opponent as they did against the Wildcats. Against the Bears they scored 37 points and gained 439 yards. Against Arizona, 41 and 442.

Similarly, Hawaii had more trouble against Oregon State than they did the Wildcats. Against the Beavers they gained 488 yards (vs. 595) and scored 31 points (vs. 45).

Things may not get any better this weekend. Although it was against Montana State and UTEP, Texas Tech has scored 83 points and gained 1,115 yards. (For comparison Arizona has scored 103 and 1,259.)

Comments (7)
No. 1-5
mrzipityduda
mrzipityduda

HOLD THE PRESSES.....glad you wrote this: Seems like they heard you and impressed with TT win...congrats Brad!!! :))

Gary Randazzo
Gary Randazzo

Editor

These are all good comments, and I really liked how the story broke down points and yards allowed by quarter over two games. Like almost everyone else, I'm just scratching my head and how much Arizona's defense has under performed and really disappointed through the first two games. How Brad created a benchmark is a great idea.

As for Texas Tech, it is definitely a winnable game and one I had checked as a victory at the start of the season. However, our defense has me more concerned than I had originally thought it would during the offseason, so a lot could go wrong on Saturday. That said, Arizona does seem to rise up (regardless of how good or great the opponent) and win when the things look like they're heading straight to the toilet. It wouldn't surprise me to see Arizona's defense make more plays than usual on Saturday, the team gain some momentum, and actually pull off an impressive home win by something like 48-31.

Anthony22
Anthony22

TX tech is favored because of better play against teams they're supposed to blow out. Their defense is better than ours by leaps and bounds. Their qb is accurate in the passing game. That's why it's scary for us. This sounds a lot like the Hawaii game to me. The difference is going to be how proficient the offense is. If we're having a lot of 3 and outs it's not going to end well for us. If we're scoring TDS then we have a shot at the win.

wildcat4evr
wildcat4evr

UTEP and Montana State are two of the worst teams in CFB. To compare TT's performance on these teams is really hard as they are even worse than Hawaii and NAU. and TT did not do very well at all. TT weakness is their lack of depth and lack of production in their running game. I don't see where Las Vegas has them as favorites. Reputation sometimes means more than reality. TT is a mediocre team at best.

Wineknow
Wineknow

And they've allowed 4, count 'em FOUR third down conversions in 2 games. Against ANYONE thats impressive. Their D may surprise.


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