Arizona-Hawaii matchup promises offensive fireworks
By KALANI TAKASE
HONOLULU — Arizona’s season-opening matchup against Hawaii will be a study in contrasting offensive styles.
While both teams ranked in the top 50 nationally in total offense in 2018, the Wildcats did a lot of their damage on the ground, averaging 202.4 rushing yards per game, which led the Pac-12. The Rainbow Warriors’ pass-heavy attack, meanwhile, aired it out at a clip of 310.3 yards per game, tops in the Mountain West.
Arizona running back J.J. Taylor and Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald are expected to take center stage when the teams meet Saturday for the first time since 2016.
Taylor, a 5-foot-6, 185-pound redshirt junior, ran for 1,434 yards last season, good for seventh nationally. It was the fourth-highest single-season rushing performance in Wildcats history.
McDonald, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior, finished eighth nationally in passing yards (3,875) and sixth in passing touchdowns (36). He threw for over 300 yards seven times and eclipsed the 400-yard mark three times last season.
“The scary part about this guy, McDonald, is he had a great year last year … and he’s coming back this year bigger and stronger, so they’ve got some weapons offensively and defensively, but I think they’ve got a quarterback that’s as good as probably there is in the country,” Arizona second-year coach Kevin Sumlin said.