Arizona Week 4 Recap: Oregon Flips the Script

…Arizona unable to improvise.

#22 Arizona at #3 Oregon.  Arizona 0 – Oregon 49

Arizona has been on cloud nine for the past three weeks. You know those days: Walking down the street in your new jeans, an awesome pair of new shoes, and your hair turned out perfectly; then you trip off the curb and everyone sees. Oregon was that curb.  In Arizona’s 3-0 opening run, the #3 Oregon Ducks brought Arizona back down to Earth and handed them their first loss.  If not for missed opportunities, the box score would have been different and the 49-0 rout may have been less embarrassing for the Cats.

In the first quarter alone, the Arizona Wildcats failed to capitalize on two 1st and Goal opportunities.  Late in the first quarter, Arizona received a first down on Oregon’s 2 yard line and failed to score on the drive.  5th year senior QB Matt Scott threw three interceptions, one which was run back for a 54-yard touchdown by Oregon’s sophomore cornerback Ifo Ekpre-OlomuBack-up QB B.J. Denker also threw an interception that was taken in for a touchdown.  Suffice it to say, Arizona’s offense did not perform as it had in previous appearances. QB Matt Scott temporarily left the field in the 1st quarter, bringing out B.J. Denker as his replacement. Denker is a junior college transfer student who joined the team in the summer or 2012. Scott returned shortly after, with team reps citing an injured hip as the reason for the temporary absence.  Scott remained in the game until late in the 4th quarter, as Denker finished the remaining 4 minutes of the game.

Arizona’s defense seemed to be keeping up with the power of the Ducks throughout the first half, holding Oregon to only 13 points. Many were optimistic about a potential return of the Cats in the second half, as they had done against Oklahoma State in week 2.  With the dawning of the second half, those hopes slowly faded.  Arizona was unable to get across the midfield line in their opening drive of the half, leading to a punt from Kyle Dugandzic.  The teams traded punts on the next four drives, leaving a long gap in the action. At 7:37, Oregon’s sophomore tight end Colt Lyerla rushed for a 1 yard touchdown followed by a 2-point conversion to put Oregon up 21-0. Six minutes later, freshman Bralon Addison received a 55 yard touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota to make it 28-0.  The fourth quarter held an additional 21 points for the Ducks.

While a #22 upset over a #3 team would have been epic in its own rights, the Cats had much to prove in this game.  As I wrote before, Arizona has much history with the Oregon Ducks and a win on Saturday may have quieted some of the talk that occurs between the fans of both teams.  However, with the Ducks shutting out the Cats, the first time the Ducks have done so against any conference team since 2003, the talk will continue and the rivalry will continue to build.  Arizona will have to fight in its next outings to regain their AP ranking after falling out of the top 25 following the Oregon Loss.

The next game for the Cats brings them back home to face the Oregon State Beavers.  The game will be previewed later in the week, and broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.

From the heart of Wildcat Country, Bear Down.