By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
When Arizona quarterback Dan White had his helmet knocked off, Brady Batten knew it was time to pick up his.
On Arizona's first drive of the game, White was sacked by Cal's Duane Clemons and knocked out of the game with a concussion. Batten played the remainder of the game.
"I can honestly say that when we stepped into the huddle there wasn't one guy who thought he couldn't get the job done," UA receiver Richard Dice said.
It was Dice who became Batten's favorite target, hauling in seven catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns, including a 40-yard, one-handed grab in the second quarter.
"You can just throw the ball up to him half of the time and he'll come down with it," Batten said.
Batten finished with 178 yards, completing 14 of 23 attempts. But perhaps most importantly, it was Batten's ability to scamper away from Cal's tough pass rush that added a new dimension to the Wildcat offense.
Batten was able to elude the rush and gain enough yardage to give the Wildcats key first downs, instead of third-and-longs and punt situations.
"Winning is the ultimate thing," Batten said. "It hurts to be a losing football team."
Batten also said that Saturday's game was his first meaningful playing time since his senior year of high school.
"Brady's done some good things," Arizona head coach Dick Tomey said. "It was really great to see him do well."
It was announced in the second quarter that White was cleared to return, but it was already apparent that the game would belong to Batten.
He passed with an effectiveness not normally seen from a backup quarterback, completing five of his first six passes. Batten also seemed to find everybody on the field, completing passes to five different receivers.
The question now is, who starts in two weeks against UCLA?
"Well, it's up to the coaches to make that decision," Batten said.
The coaching staff has held steadfastly to the fact that Arizona is White's football team, but it was Batten who brought the Wildcats out of their two-week offensive funk. Along with the passing game, the running game came to life again, gaining 199 yards.
"It was a real big game for us and for them," Batten said. "We knew it was going to be a battle."
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