Nick Wilson leads Arizona Wildcats past Nevada

Posted at 10:42 PM, Sep 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-13 01:42:38-04

Fabulous as freshmen, Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon and running back Nick Wilson are picking up where they left off last season.

Wilson ran for 194 yards and three touchdowns and Solomon passed for 264 yards and two more scores Saturday to lead the No. 22 Wildcats past Nevada 44-20 and improve to 2-0.

Just two games into their sophomore season, the duo now has combined for 54 touchdowns and more than 6,300 yards total offense in their young college careers.

"Me and Anu have a really special relationship," said Wilson, who explained they are "like best friends -- buddies on and off the field" who just seem to "click."

"Believe it or not, a lot of people don't know this, but we talk like mid-play," said the 5-foot-10, 200-pound back from Fresno, California. "We are always communicating so I know what he is doing and he knows what I am doing."

As freshman last year, Solomon passed for 3,793 yards and 28 touchdowns, and Wilson ran for 1,375 yards and had 17 total TDs. Last week, Solomon passed for 229 yards and three touchdowns and Wilson ran for 97 yards in a 42-32 victory over Texas-San Antonio.

The Wildcats opened a 14-0 lead over Nevada less than 6 minutes into the game. Wilson surpassed the 100-yard mark with his second score that made it 21-10 with 3:56 to go before the half.

Wilson ended up averaging 9.2 yards per carry in 21 attempts and had two catches for 30 yards.

Solomon, who played at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High, completed 24 of 33 attempts with no interceptions. He was replaced early in the fourth quarter by backup Jerrad Randall, who ran 57 yards for a touchdown to put the game out of reach, 41-13.

Arizona's Cayleb Jones caught six passes for 103 yards.

"Give them all the credit," said Nevada coach Brian Polian, whose team fell to 1-1. "They played their tails off."

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said his team didn't execute well on offense but agreed they played hard.

"I thought our guys were gritty," Rodriguez said. He said Wilson always runs hard.

"There were a couple times he ran when there was good blocking," he said. "There were a couple times when he ran when there was very little blocking, but he made it happen and that was pretty good."

Don Jackson rushed for 91 yards for Nevada (1-1). Wolf Pack quarterback Tyler Stewart completed 18-of-32 pass attempts for 159 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Nevada was whistled for nine penalties for 105 yards, including two unsportsmanlike calls against Polian, in his third year at Nevada. Arizona, which had 570 yards total offense, had three penalties for 30 yards.

"The two penalties I received tonight, I own them completely," Polian said. "I apologized to the team. I let them team down, no doubt about that. Clearly, I've earned myself a little bit of a rep, and that is nobody's fault but mine.

"The easy story right now is that I am a hothead and all that stuff, and I guess I can understand that. I am incredibly passionate about this job. I am incredibly passionate about our young people. I apologized to coach Rodriguez after the game and his reply to me was that `I understand. You were trying to coach your tail off.' I appreciated him saying that."

The closest Nevada got was 14-10 when Stewart capped an 80-yard drive with a 5-yard TD pass to Jerico Richardson 9:14 before the half. He threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Hasaan Henderson with 10:08 remaining when the Wildcats already had the game in hand.

Arizona jumped to a 7-0 lead less than 2 minutes into the game on Solomon's 9-yard TD pass to Johnny Jackson two plays after Nevada punter Alex Boy had to chase down a high snap inside his own 10 and kicked it out of bounds at the 16 for a loss of 13.

"The snap over the punter's head sort of took the wind out of our sails a little bit," Polian said.

Solomon completed six consecutive passes to lead Arizona on a 77-yard scoring drive capped by Wilson's 3-yard TD run to make it 14-0 at 9:33 in the first quarter.

Brent Zuzo's 28-yard field goal pulled Nevada to within 14-3 by the end of a quarter when the Wolf Pack already had been called for five penalties for 56 yards.

The Wildcats were driving again late in the second quarter before Wilson fumbled at midfield and linebacker Bryan Lane Jr. recovered, allowing Zuzo to kick a 41-yard field goal as time ran out to make it 21-13 at the half.