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Five off-the-beaten-path storylines of Arizona vs. UCLA while wondering if Rich Rodriguez would ever agree to be documented in the “The Drive” on the Pac-12 Networks. It didn’t seem to affect ASU last year, although UCLA’s Jim Mora this year would likely side with being behind closed doors. …
1. How do Arizona’s Anu Solomon and UCLA’s Brett Hundley Jr. compare after seven games in their careers?
UCLA’s Brett Hundley Jr., son of former Arizona running back Brett Hundley Sr., started his career in earnest two years ago as a redshirt freshman. By the following season, he was listed among Heisman hopefuls.
Arizona’s Anu Solomon is in the same spot this year, a redshirt freshman establishing himself as one of the nation’s best.
Through the first seven games in their development, Solomon has comparatively thrown more than 500 yards (2,430 to 1,916) than Hundley Jr. and has a better touchdown:interception ratio (20:4 vs. 14:7). Solomon has passed the ball 65 more times (316 to 251) in the same stage of their careers.
Hundley Jr. was slightly a better rusher, scoring five times via the run while Solomon has yet to cross the goal line as a runner. Hundley Jr. gained 240 yards on 68 carries through his first seven games in 2012 while Solomon has rushed for 191 yards on 64 carries so far this year.
With Solomon’s numbers comparable or better than Hundley’s at the same stage of their careers, it is conceivable Solomon can similarly evolve into a nationally-recognized player such as Hunley by next season. Will the word Heisman enter the discussion? Why not?
BRETT HUNDLEY VS. ANU SOLOMON REDSHIRT FRESHMEN THROUGH SEVEN GAMES OF CAREER
2. Las Vegas media first behind Solomon’s Heisman push.
Two weeks ago, the Las Vegas Sun ran a story headlined: “Is it too soon to talk Heisman for Anu Solomon?”
Folks in Las Vegas have a grasp on Solomon’s worth. He is a Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School product who led the Gaels to a 56-4 record, won four state championships and helped his team outscore opponents 3,105-641. The four losses were by a combined 31 points.
Ray Brewer of the Las Vegas Sun writes:
“After passing for 520 yards and five touchdowns against Cal, and completing 21 of 30 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown against Oregon, Solomon could become part of the conversation for college football’s most prestigious individual award — the Heisman Trophy.
Redshirt freshmen (Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston) have won the award the past two seasons, and Solomon’s numbers in five games stack up well.
Solomon passed for 1,741 yards through his first five games, ranking him 10th nationally. Manziel had 1,285 through five games, and Winston had 1,441.”
3. What was Hundley Sr.’s best game for Arizona?
That is difficult to find in the archives. The elder Hundley is not listed in the stats as a running back in the only year that he lettered in 1986, Larry Smith’s last season at Arizona. Hundley Sr. was mostly a special teams contributor.
He did not get a chance to carry the ball because the Arizona backfield included the likes of David Adams, Art Greathouse, James DeBow, David Eldridge and Chris McLemore. Also on that roster at running back was Chuck Knox Jr., the son of another famous dad, former NFL head coach Chuck Knox Sr.
Despite Hundley Sr.’s lack of playing opportunities, he remained a loyal Arizona follower with Wildcat memorabilia about the household when Hundley Jr. was growing up.
4. Is Hundley the first son of a former Wildcat to play against the Wildcats?
He is actually part of a long list of at least eight players.
The Kalil brothers at USC (offensive linemen Ryan and Matt) — sons of former Arizona center Frank Kalil — played against the Wildcats from 2003 to 2006 (Ryan) and 2009 to 2011 (Matt) before going to the NFL as high draft picks.
Greg Hansen of The Arizona Daily Star once wrote that the Kalil brothers never considered Arizona because of possible ties broken between Frank Kalil and Arizona.
“Perhaps it was related to the 1982 draft, when Frank Kalil was an 11th-round pick of the Buffalo Bills,” Hansen writes. “He was angry that the UA coaching staff could not get him a spot in the East-West Game or the Senior Bowl and has not been close to the school since.”
The elder Kalil also played at Arkansas for two years before transferring to Arizona in 1980. Former USC coach Pete Carroll, who recruited the Kalil brothers, coached Frank Kalil at Arkansas as an assistant.
—Rodney Peete, son of former Arizona wide receiver and assistant coach Willie Peete (played with the Wildcats from 1956-59), starred at USC from 1985-88 before playing 16 years in the NFL.
Peete was 4-0 against Arizona, his hometown school. He attended Sahuaro High School for three years before transferring to Overland Park (Kansas) Shawnee Mission South High School as a senior when his father landed a job at Kansas.
–Oregon featured wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei, son of former Arizona defensive end Van Tuinei (played with the Wildcats in 1995 and 1996). The younger Tuinei was the Rose Bowl’s offensive player of the game when the Ducks beat Wisconsin in 2011.
–Former Arizona quarterback Jim Krohn’s son Jeff Krohn started as ASU in 2000 and 2001 before transferring to Massachusetts to end his career.
—Norm Katnik Sr., who played for the Wildcats when they entered the Pac-10 in 1978 and 1979, watched his son Norm Jr. (who was born in Tucson) star at USC from 2001 to 2003.
—Kyle Ingraham, the son of a former Arizona football player (Corky) and swimmer (Susan), was a wide receiver at Purdue from 2003-2006. Corky Ingraham played linebacker for the Wildcats in 1977-78. He led Arizona in tackles in 1978.
5. Arizona’s history against UCLA in key conference matchups is unkind to Wildcats
Arizona remains in control of its own destiny in the Pac-12 race heading into November with its game at UCLA this Saturday. It is a plateau the program has experienced only twice before.
The Wildcats were in this spot heading into November in 1985 and again in 2009.
In 1985, Arizona was 2-1 in the standings under Smith, tied in the loss column with UCLA (4-1), Washington (3-1) and USC (2-1) before games scheduled on Nov. 2, 1985. Arizona was coming off an upset loss to winless Stanford giving it the 2-1 record. The Wildcats were not scheduled against USC and Washington that year.
The Wildcats, who finished 8-3-1 in 1985, were essentially eliminated from the race Nov. 9 of that year to UCLA 24-19 in Tucson.
In Arizona’s 12-1 season in 1998, the Wildcats lost to UCLA on Oct. 15. The Bruins remained unbeaten heading into November and captured the Pac-10 title.
In the other year Arizona controlled its destiny heading into November, in 2009, the Wildcats were 3-1 entering the month and Oregon was 5-0. Arizona had yet to face the Ducks.
Oregon beat the Wildcats in a classic game 44-41 in double-overtime in Tucson on Nov. 14. The Wildcats entered the game with a loss in the previous week at Cal.