TUCSON – Former Bishop Gorman star Anu Solomon became the first freshman quarterback to start a season opener for Arizona on Friday night. But by the end of the Wildcats’ 58-13 thrashing of UNLV at Arizona Stadium, that was just a minor accomplishment for the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder.
Solomon completed 25-of-44 for passes for 425 yards and four touchdowns to set a new school freshman passing record as Arizona (1-0) shattered its single-game record for total offense with 787 yards in routing the Rebels (0-1) for the second straight year.
The 787 yards were the second most ever allowed by a UNLV defense topped only by 794 that in-state rival Nevada garnered in 1993.
Solomon also rushed for 50 yards to give him 475 yards in total offense, the fourth best mark in school history.
All in all, not a bad debut.
“It felt great,” Solomon said. “I want to thank everyone like the running backs and the defense for getting us the ball.”
Senior running back Terris Jones-Grigsbyy (13 carries for 124 yards, 1 TD) and freshman Nick Wilson (7 carries, 104 yards, 85-yard TD) both broke the 100-yard rushing mark while Austin Hill (3 catches, 110 yards, 92-yard TD), Samajie Grant (4 catches, 101 yards, 1 TD) both topped the 100-yard mark in receiving. It marked the first time in Arizona history that the Wildcats had two players rush for 100 yards and also two players tally 100 receiving yards in the same game.
It could have been worse. With 12:28 to go in the fourth quarter, Arizona already had 710 yards before coasting to the finish line.
“They took it to us,” UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said. “They did it again like last year (also a 58-13 loss at Sam Boyd Stadium). We weren’t able to win because we gave up some big plays in the red zone and on third down, in particular.”
Junior Blake Decker had a solid debut in his first start at quarterback, rushing for a team-best 56 yards on 10 carries while also completing 22-of-41 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Devante Davis had eight catches for 100 yards while freshman Devonte Boyd from Basic High in Henderson also topped the 100-yard mark in his first college game with six receptions for 102 yards.
UNLV next hosts Northern Colorado, which has lost 11 straight games, in its home opener on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium.