Arizona may be without starting quarterback Anu Solomon for the second straight week.
The school’s latest injury report had Solomon listed as questionable on Thursday heading into this week’s home game against Hawaii. That is the same status the junior signal-caller was listed with when he missed the Wildcats’ win over Grambling last Saturday.
Solomon started Arizona’s opener in a narrow loss against BYU but injured his knee in a practice two weeks ago. Redshirt sophomore Brandon Dawkins, who battled Solomon through fall camp for the job, made his first start at Arizona last week and and struggled initially before a big second half comeback. He finished the game 15-of-29 for 223 yards, throwing for a touchdown and running for two others.
Safety Tellas Jones was also listed as questionable on the injury report and could sit out his second straight game as the result of an ankle injury.
If there was any good news to come out of Thursday’s report, it was likely that receiver Nate Phillips was not listed after battling shoulder issues. His addition could provide a big boost for either quarterback given some of the Wildcats’ struggles in the passing game to begin the season.
None of it may matter with Hawaii coming to town for Arizona but then again, the Wildcats did struggle to put away Grambling last week.
Regardless of what happens in one Power Five conference, one Group of Five league could be expanding.
Air Force and Colorado State of the Mountain West have reportedly made the cut as the Big 12 looks to expand by at least two teams and possibly four. That conference could make their expansion decision as early as the next month.
In the meantime, the MWC won’t be sitting idly by waiting to be poached as commissioner Craig Thompson confirmed Saturday that his conference will look to expand independent of what the Big 12 does. And, more to the point, Thompson doesn’t hide the fact that the league would like a presence in the state of Texas.
“I can say this — and I said it at our [football] media days. We have a lot of people saying, ‘If there’s an opportunity to be in your league, we’re interested.’ So there are numbers there,” Thompson said, without getting into any specifics. “I’ve challenged our membership to think about expansion — with or without losing [current] members. Do we look east? Do we look at the state of Texas, for example?
“So that’s probably going to be something we have to confront this year.”
The Salt Lake Tribune mentions current Conference USA members North Texas, Rice, UTEP and UT-San Antonio as possibilities from the state of Texas. The Sun Belt’s Arkansas State is also considered a viable option.
There appears to be just one bit of negative bit of news coming out of Michigan’s opener, although it could prove to be significant depending on how it unfolds.
In the first half of the Wolverines’ 66-3 steamrolling of overmatched Hawaii, Bryan Mone went down with an undisclosed injury and did not return. After the game, Jim Harbaugh confirmed that the starting defensive tackle will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.
“We’ll see where he stands” following the test is all the head coach would add.
It’s unclear if the injury is related to the leg he broke in summer camp last year that resulted in the lineman missing the entire 2015 season. As a true freshman in 2014, Mone started one of the 12 games in which he played.
Another set of injuries — defensive end Taco Charlton (ankle) and running back De'Veon Smith (rib) — sustained in the game are not believed to be serious, or at least as serious as Harbaugh intimated Mone’s may be. Additionally, three starters — cornerback Jourdan Lewis, senior guard Ben Braden and junior defensive tackle Maurice Hurst — were held out of the contest entirely as a precautionary measure.
The 2016 college football season started with… an onside kick. In his first game as Hawaii’s head coach, Nick Rolovich opened with a surprise, which Cal’s Patrick Laird alertly covered. Khalfani Muhammad raced in from 34 yards out just six plays later, and it was off to the races for the Bears.
Hawaii fought back to tie the game at 7-7 and again at 14-14 late in the first quarter, but the Bears closed the first half on a 20-0 run, keyed by a pair of Davis Webb touchdown tosses, to put the game away en route to a 51-31 win. Hawaii never pulled closer than 17 points in the second half.
Played at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, the game was the first-ever college contest played in Australia.
Webb dazzled in his Bears debut, hitting 38-of-54 throws for 441 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Chad Hansen was his top target, collecting 14 grabs for 160 yards and two of those scores. Muhammad, meanwhile, led the Bears’ ground game with 10 carries for 96 yards and a score.
Ikaika Woolsey led Hawaii with 234 passing yards and one touchdown.
Overall, Cal achieved 630 yards of total offense (30 first downs) on 7.1 yards per play, while allowing Hawaii to gain 6.7 yards per play and 482 total yards.
Cal takes next week off before a date with San Diego State, while Hawaii must turn around and prepare for a road trip to No. 7 Michigan on Saturday.
Earlier this year, the nation shared in Biaggio Ali Walsh‘s grief over the passing of his iconic grandfather. On Sunday, Ali Walsh shared with the nation his decision on his future in football.
On his personal Twitter account this weekend, Ali Walsh revealed that he has decided to verbally commit to play his college football at Cal. In the tweet, Ali Walsh included a photo of himself with, among others, Golden Bears head coach Sonny Dykes.
Ali Walsh’s grandfather is the legendary Muhammad Ali, who died this past June.
A three-star 2017 prospect, Ali Walsh is rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 11 all-purpose running back in the country and the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Nevada. A product of national power Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School, Ali Walsh was named the Gatorade Nevada Player of the Year last fall, rushing for 2,451 yards and 36 touchdowns while averaging 12.1 yards per carry.
In addition to Cal, Ali Walsh held offers from, among others, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Louisville, UNLV and Vanderbilt.