Jedd Fisch thinks his Arizona Wildcats can have one of the better defenses in the Pac-12.

Arizona lost in overtime, 31-24, to Mississippi State in Starkville. But it was a promising defensive performance from a young group. The UA outgained the Bulldogs 431-307 on the evening. The Wildcats had 2 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, and allowed only three third-down conversions on 11 attempts.

The defense also held the pass-heavy offense of Mississippi State to 162 yards through the air. Fisch said that his defense went snap-for-snap for Mississippi State’s offense.

“Our defense stood up to the test and went punch-for-punch,” the Arizona coach said after the game. “I’m more disappointed that our offense at times didn’t do the same. We ended up doing it, but I would say our defense is just gonna keep getting better. We’re gonna have one of the better defenses in the Pac-12. That’s the goal, and that’s not gonna change.

“We’re gonna learn from this, but we’ve gotta accept the fact that we’ve got a defensive squad that loves football.”

There was a lot to be proud of in the heartbreaking loss. Arizona has a tune-up game with UTEP in Week 3 before its first game Pac-12 game of the season against Stanford.

While the offense needs more consistency, the defense has been solid so far this season.