Rick Scuteri / AP
Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014 | 2 a.m.
Bishop Gorman High football coach Tony Sanchez says it best when talking about former Gaels quarterback Anu Solomon: “The kid is a winner.”
• 566: Solomon's total yards against Cal, setting Arizona and Pac-12 records.
• 520: Solomon's passing yards against Cal, another Arizona record.
• 36: Points scored by Arizona in the fourth quarter to rally past Cal after trailing 31-13.
• 47: Completions against Cal to tie an NCAA freshman record. The 73 pass attempts and 89 total plays broke the freshman marks.
• 6: Number of consecutive wins for Arizona dating to last season going into Saturday's games, tied for third-best nationally. Defending national champion Florida State had won 21 straight; Mississippi State had won eight straight.
Through the years
• 2009: 15-0 at Bishop Gorman High School
• 2010: 13-2 (two defeats by a combined 21 points, but Gorman led in both games, including against national power De La Salle High of Concord, Calif.)
• 2011: 15-1 (Lost to eventual national champ Armwood of Florida by three points)
• 2012: 13-1 (Lost to Bergen Catholic of New Jersey by seven points)
• 2013: Redshirt at Arizona.
• 2014: Led Arizona to a 5-0 start, including knocking off No. 2 Oregon on the road. Arizona has averaged 6 1/2 wins a season for the past five years.
Solomon is off to a 5-1 start as a redshirt freshman at the University of Arizona, winning against Cal when he completed a 45-yard Hail Mary as time expired, and in his next game upsetting second-ranked Oregon on the road.
Few teams win at national power Oregon, which had won 29 of 31 games at Autzen Stadium since 2010. But Solomon has lost just five games since eighth grade, including Saturday to USC when the Arizona kicker a missed 36-yard field goal in the final seconds.
At Gorman, he finished with a 56-4 record, won four state championships and helped the Gaels outscore opponents 3,105-641. His four defeats came by a combined 31 points.
His winning mentality has carried over to Arizona, which climbed to 10th in the AP poll heading into Saturday's game against USC. Solomon, the first freshman to start a season-opener for Arizona, has the Wildcats off to their best start since 1998.
Despite completing 43 of 72 passes for 395 yards and having Arizona in position to win against USC, Solomon suffered his first collegiate loss.
“He’s made enough plays to help us win and I think he’s going to keep getting better, and that’s what I am excited about,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said after the Cal game.
Everything seems to be going Solomon’s way. Against Oregon, when a defensive lineman deflected one of his passes into the air, Solomon acted quickly and caught the ball. He raced 21 yards for a first down, finishing fifth out of nine Arizona receivers for yardage in the game.
He also had a 48-yard quick-kick punt in the second quarter, with the ball taking a friendly bounce in rolling to the Oregon 1-yard line.
Solomon set Nevada prep records for passing yards (10,011) and passing touchdowns (138) at Gorman, and that’s without playing in the second halves of most games because Gorman was comfortably ahead.
Now, 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.