EL PASO, Texas — Brandon Dawkins scored six touchdowns — three passing and three rushing — to lead Arizona to a 63-16 win over UTEP on Friday night.
Dawkins, who played only one series in the fourth quarter, threw for 155 yards on 18-of-22 passing and ran for 143 yards on 13 carries.
Arizona came into the game as a 25-point favorite, but struggled in the first quarter against winless UTEP before scoring 28 unanswered points.
The Wildcats (2-1) scored on the first play of the second quarter when Dawkins found freshman J.J. Taylor for 2-yard TD on fourth-and-goal, capping a 12-play, 78-yard drive. Dawkins connected with Shun Brown on a 36-yard touchdown pass followed by a 5-yard Dawkins TD run three minutes later to push the lead to 28-0.
After UTEP (0-3) scored on a pass from Zack Greenlee to Tyler Batson with 2:50 remaining in the half, Dawkins scored his fourth touchdown on a 3-yard run as the Wildcats scored 35 second-quarter points to take a 35-9 lead.
It was the first points allowed by the Wildcats in three quarters after holding Houston scoreless in the second half last week.
Arizona continued its offensive onslaught in the third, scoring two more touchdowns — on Dawkins’ 13-yard run and Bryce Wolma’s catch.
“It just came down to execution,” Dawkins said. “We executed a lot better, I executed a lot better and that’s the kind of result you’re going to get.”
UTEP scored its lone second-half touchdown on Mark Torrez’s 6-yard run in the third and Arizona closed with 21 unanswered points.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez was impressed with how Dawkins came back from last week’s loss to Houston.
“He showed me that he is the competitor I thought he always was,” Rodriguez said. “That’s one thing that will not change about Brandon. He is a competitive guy. He played well, he did a nice job and bailed us out a couple of times.”
Arizona: How young are the Wildcats? Arizona has played 24 freshman, including 14 true freshman, in the first three games.
Arizona: The Wildcats host Pac-12 South rival Utah next Friday in the conference opener for both teams.