Explosive 2nd quarter leads Arizona to rout of UTEP
Arizona starting quarterback Brandon Dawkins, criticized after a poor performance in a loss last week, had a part in four of the Wildcats’ five touchdowns in the second quarter to help lead UA to a 63-16 win over host Texas-El Paso in the Sun Bowl on Friday night.
It’s the most points UA has scored against a FBS school since beating Pacific 63-35 in 1980. In 2015, UA defeated FCS school Northern Arizona 77-13.
Arizona (2-1) has now beaten UTEP 13 consecutive times, dating back to the days when they played each other in the Western Athletic Conference and Border Conference. UA had 511 yards in total offense; UTEP had 218.
For the game, Dawkins, 18 for 22 in the air, threw for three touchdowns and ran for three. He finished with 298 yards in total offense, solidifying his spot as Arizona’s starter at quarterback. He was replaced in the fourth quarter by Rhett Rodriguez, head coach Rich Rodriguez’s freshman son.
While Arizona’s starter was having a standout game, UTEP starter Zack Greenlee, a backup to injured Ryan Metz (shoulder), couldn’t get the Miners on track offensively. He was 11 for 17 and had a touchdown throw, but threw an ill-advised pass that UA freshman Colin Schooler returned for 53 yards. Dawkins scored his second touchdown run on a 3-yard scramble to make it 35-6 with 2:50 left in the quarter.
UTEP (0-3) played without 10 players after they suffered injuries in the season’s first two weeks.
After being shut out in the first quarter, Dawkins took over like many Arizona fans had been expecting from the potentially explosive quarterback can. He hit J.J. Taylor on a 2-yard touchdown three seconds into the second quarter. He followed it with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Shun Brown to eventually make it 14-0. After a 5-yard touchdown run by Dawkins, UA scored on a spectacular 63-yard run by Brown, who used a spin move that kept two Miners from touching him.
The game also saw the return of senior running back Nick Wilson, who sat out last week’s game with an ankle injury. He rushed for 39 yards on 13 carries. UA freshman Nathan Tilford scored his first two touchdowns of his career.