TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Rich Rodriguez won his debut at Arizona, something he was unable to do in four previous stops during his 19-year career as a head coach.
Savor it? Sure he did. The goal for every coach is to start off a new era with a victory and Rodriguez had finally done it.
With that joy, though, came a stark reality: The Wildcats have a lot of work yet to do.
And with No. 19 Oklahoma State up next, they need to get things fixed quick.
"I guess it's good anytime you get a win, but there's a lot of things we need to get better at," Rodriguez said on Monday. "I think everybody in the program understands that. The first games you find out a lot about your team and I was really pleased in some aspects and not so pleased in other aspects. A lot of things we can correct and need to correct when a team as quality as Oklahoma State comes to town."
Arizona's debut under Rodriguez wasn't always pretty.
The Wildcats beat Toledo 24-17 Saturday night when Matt Scott hit Terrence Miller on a 10-yard touchdown pass in overtime and the defense held, setting off a raucous celebration at Arizona Stadium.
The 60 minutes before that were filled with a mix of great plays and not-so-great blunders, forcing Arizona to pull out a tighter-than-expected win over a smaller program.
Scott looked comfortable taking over the offense from Nick Foles, throwing for career-high 387 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 74 more yards.
Sophomore Ka'Deem Carey showed some flashes of brilliance, scoring on a 73-yard touchdown run while gaining 147 yards on 20 carries.
Behind Scott and Carey, the Wildcats racked up 624 yards of offense, second-most in school history.
With all that production came the mistakes — and there were many.
Arizona fumbled four times and lost two, while Scott threw an interception. The Wildcats also had two touchdowns called by penalties and kicker John Bonano had a rough night, missing two short field goals, including a 25-yarder that would have won it at the end of regulation.
A win, sure, but not as satisfying as it could have been.
"There's so much more we could have done better with," said linebacker Jake Fischer, named the Pac-12's defensive player of the week after leading the Wildcats with 13 tackles. "We're really focusing on trying to put that together for a great offense coming in."
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