TUCSON, Ariz. — Matt Scott accounted for 349 total yards and four touchdowns in three quarters, and then-No. 24 Arizona breezed through its final nonconference game, rolling over South Carolina State, 56-0, on Saturday night.
Arizona (3-0) did what it was supposed to against a team from the Football Championship Subdivision, racing to a 28-0 lead by halftime and a school-record 43 first downs overall.
Scott threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns on 30-of-36 passing, and added a 10-yard scoring run in another stellar performance to start his senior season.
Arizona held South Carolina State (1-2) to 154 total yards for its first shutout in four years.
South Carolina State had little chance against Arizona’s athleticism, allowing the Wildcats to rack up 689 yards, 2 short of the school record.
The Bulldogs had 65 yards rushing on 29 carries and quarterback Richard Cue missed several receivers while going 12 for 25 for 89 yards with an interception.
It doesn’t get any easier for South Carolina State, either. Up next is a road game against Texas A&M.
Arizona couldn’t afford a letdown against the Bulldogs.
The Wildcats rolled over No. 18 Oklahoma State 59-38 last week and moved into The Associated Press poll for the first time in nearly two years.
They needed an easy win with a tough Pac-12 run coming up next. After the Ducks next weekend, Arizona plays a conference schedule that includes No. 2 Southern California, No. 21 Stanford, No. 22 UCLA and rival Arizona State.
The Wildcats had no trouble moving the ball against the Bulldogs, but did have a little problem getting out of their own way in the early going.
Arizona raced to a touchdown on its first possession, Scott capping it with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Richard Morrison.
Moving again, the Wildcats lost the ball near midfield when Morrison fumbled and the Bulldogs recovered. Another quick-moving drive ended with John Bonano, the reigning Pac-12 special teams player of the week, pushing a 25-yard field goal wide right.
Those turned out to be just blips in the Wildcats’ march of dominance.
Scott hit Taimi Tutogi on a 14-yard touchdown to open the second quarter after the Bulldogs bit hard on a play-action fake. Ka’Deem Carey capped the next drive with a 7-yard touchdown run around the right end.
Scott closed out the impressive first half by pinballing off several defenders into the end zone for a 10-yard run that made it 28-0.
Scott, who entered the game tied with Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib for the national lead with 836 total yards, threw for 175 yards and ran for 61 more in the first half. Arizona’s offense had 323 yards by halftime and its defense held South Carolina State to 69.
If it wasn’t over already, the Wildcats made sure in the third quarter, when Scott hit Dan Buckner on a 27-yard touchdown pass and Daniel Jenkins carried half of South Carolina State’s defense with him on a 5-yard scoring run that made it 42-0.