Arizona quarterback Matt Scott’s performance against Stanford ended in an overtime interception, which might be the thing everyone remembers.
Before that, he gave his team a great chance for the upset Saturday by rewriting Arizona and Pac-12 records.
“I think Matt Scott is a stud,” Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez said on his postgame radio interview after the 54-48 overtime loss at No. 18 Stanford. “He’s an absolute stud.”
–Set school and Pac-12 records for pass attempts (69), breaking the conference mark of 68, set by Stanford’s Steve Smith in a 1989 game against Notre Dame.
–Set school and Pac-12 records for completions (45), eclipsing the league mark of 43, set by Cal’s Rich Campbell against Florida in 1980.
–Passed for 491 yards, the third-best total in school history.
“He competes. He battles. He made a lot of great throws,” Rodriguez said. “He had one or two that maybe he wants to have back, but I think Matt Scott showed he should be considered one of the best in the league, if not the country.”
As for those couple he would want to have back …
One of those would be a third-down pass to wide receiver Tyler Slavin with just under six minutes left. Scott threw high, incomplete, as Arizona was protecting a seven-point lead. It was only the second three-and-out of the game for the Wildcats.
That was a huge missed opportunity for more points that would have put the Cardinal in a headlock. Arizona punted, and Stanford went 79 yards for a tying touchdown with 45 seconds left.
Then there was the interception in overtime. Defensive lineman Henry Anderson tipped a third-down pass into the air, allowing linebacker Chase Thomas to pick it off and end the Cats’ possession.
Arizona’s 103rd play — setting another single-game Pac-12 record, breaking the mark of 102 held by two teams — was its worst of the day.
Before that, Scott filled up a highlight reel, firing many passes into tight spots and throwing for three touchdowns.
“Matt Scott played great,” said sophomore receiver Austin Hill, who caught 11 passes for 165 yards and two scores. “(He) took a couple of hits to get the ball out, and receivers love when quarterbacks do that.”
When Rodriguez was hired, bringing in his read-option offense, there was no thought that Scott would be passing the ball as much as he has through six games. If you just looked at the numbers, you would have thought Greg Byrne hired Mike Leach instead.
Scott has completed 186 of 289 throws for 2,099 yards. At that pace, he will break the school record for attempts, set last season by Nick Foles (560).
Scott’s running has been limited by a couple of nagging injuries, leading to more passing.
“He’s a fifth-year guy who knows how to throw, but this is his first year in the system,” Rodriguez said.
“I wish I had another year with him for sure. Matt is doing everything he can to help this program win, and I’m proud of the way he competed today.”