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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Cats suffer crash in Corvallis

    CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Arizona football team fell flat on its face Saturday, giving up 24 points in the first quarter en route to a 31-16 loss to Oregon State at Reser Stadium.

    The Wildcats (2-4, 1-2 Pacific 10 Conference) held the Beavers scoreless in the second half, but their offense simply could not turn the game around, failing to score a touchdown and putting the season in jeopardy.

    The only touchdown came on an Antoine Cason interception return, which he ran back 60 yards with less than a minute remaining in the first half and Arizona trailing 31-3.

    “”We’re very disappointed on the way we started and the way we played most of the first half,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops. “”We got behind and that’s probably the worst scenario with a team like this. Offense, defense and special teams, collectively, it wasn’t a good effort.

    “”We played hard in the second half, but the game is pretty much over when you’re down 31-3.””

    The start was reminiscent of Arizona’s 28-3 first-quarter deficit two weeks ago at then-No. 6 California, except this time the Wildcats couldn’t claw back as easy.

    The Beavers (3-3, 1-2) have outscored their opponents 78-6 in the first quarter this season and in the past 15 games have outscored opponents 158-30.

    A week after breezing to a 48-20 win over Washington State, the Wildcats failed to get any kind of momentum going on offense. Tuitama, who totaled six touchdowns against the Cougars, had his weakest outing of the season, going only 18-of-38 for 222 yards and three interceptions.

    OSU’s Joey LaRocque ran back one of those picks for a touchdown in the first quarter.

    Tuitama was also sacked eight times after being sacked only seven times in the first five games of the season.

    Freshman running back Nicolas Grigsby was held in check by the No. 3 rush defense in the country, as he totaled only 61 yards on 16 carries. Collectively the Wildcats had nine rush yards, with Tuitama losing 75 on his sacks.

    It fit the Beavers’ motto for the defensive line: “”Flat is how we like ’em.””

    Grigsby took some of the blame for the high sack total, saying he needs to block better.

    “”I really don’t know what happened,”” said center Blake Kerley. “”We’ll have to wait and see it (today) before we really know. We knew they were going to come out and play hard in the beginning, and we didn’t defend like we should against OSU.

    “”Then we just weren’t good enough to come back. We have a lot of work to do on offense.””

    The Wildcat defense didn’t have an answer for star running back Yvenson Bernard, who had two touchdowns and 140 rushing yards. He added 24 yards and a touchdown as a receiver.

    The secondary also didn’t have an answer for quarterback Sean Canfield, who before the game had thrown only six touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He finished with 139 yards and a touchdown.

    Arizona picked him off twice but had several other golden opportunities for interceptions and couldn’t capitalize. Entering the contest, the Beavers had 21 turnovers, the most in the country, but still won the turnover battle 3-2.

    The Wildcats allowed only 44 yards in the second half, but OSU coach Mike Riley had his regulars watching from the sidelines.

    “”We haven’t learned how to accept prosperity, and we haven’t learned how to accept big wins,”” said linebacker Spencer Larsen. “”We have to realize each week that we have to prepare for the opponent that we’re going to face.

    “”I feel like we had a great week of practice and that we were all prepared. You’ve got to come out ready to play, and it just didn’t happen.””

    Late hits

    Defensive end Louis Holmes was benched in favor of Jason Parker, who had an interception.

    OSU defeated Arizona for the eighth time in the nine years since the Wildcats last made a bowl game. Arizona’s sole win in that span came in Corvallis two years ago when Tuitama made his first collegiate start. In the previous 22 years, Arizona held a 19-2-1 advantage.

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