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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


‘Wake-up call’

Gordon Bates/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA Wildcats loss to OSU Beavers at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Oct 9.
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates/ Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Wildcats loss to OSU Beavers at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Oct 9.

For the better part of four games the Arizona defense played with a chip on its shoulder, transforming from the supposed weak link to the nation’s No. 2 defense.

But while a 4-0 start and No. 9 ranking had its perks, the underdog mentality diminished Saturday night as Oregon State tore apart the Arizona defense en route to 486 total yards and a 29-27 Beavers victory.

“”It hurts that it came to this,”” said co-defensive coordinator Greg Brown, “”but sometimes it’s what you need is a wake-up call to say, ‘Hey, listen, guys, we’re not where we think we are.'””

The Wildcats certainly got their wake-up call.

The defense looked nothing like the unit that allowed only 11 points per game and led the Pacific 10 Conference in rushing defense, passing defense and total defense.

“”We played sloppy football tonight and that’s not the type of defense we are, and that’s not the type of defense we pride ourselves to be,”” said senior defensive end Ricky Elmore.

Despite holding one of the Pac-10’s best backs, Jacquizz Rodgers, to only 83 yards on 25 carries, the secondary played “”senseless”” and lacked “”focus and concentration,”” according to head coach Mike Stoops.

Quarterback Nick Foles and the Arizona offense totaled 541 yards, including 12 catches for 179 yards from receiver Juron Criner, but the once-heralded defense forgot to show up. Brown said that the secondary “”couldn’t uphold our end of the bargain,”” and “”couldn’t get a stop to save our lives.””

Oregon State quarterback Ryan Katz was a huge reason why. In only his fifth career start, Katz made all of the throws at the right times, totaling 393 yards, two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. More impressively, he did a lot of it without No. 1 target James Rodgers, who went down with a knee injury with 5:07 left in the second quarter. James Rodgers totaled seven catches for 102 yards until that point.

“”He’s a very good quarterback, mobile, makes a lot of throws, you could just see it tonight,”” Elmore said. “”Something that kind of shocked us is how much poise he had for a first-year starter … When you hit a quarterback right in the face and he completes a ball 30 yards down the field, it does drain you emotionally.””

Although Katz had a special night, Arizona’s secondary didn’t do itself any favors.

“”To give up almost 400 yards of passing is disturbing and it’s probably the most yards we’ve given up in a long time,”” Stoops said.

OSU struck first as James Rodgers put a double-move on Arizona cornerback Trevin Wade and snared a 33-yard touchdown pass from Katz with 11:41 remaining in the first quarter. The Wildcats quickly answered with a 45-yard touchdown connection between Foles and Criner, but the momentum wouldn’t stick and the OSU first downs kept coming.The Wildcats aim to stop their opponents 65 percent of the time on third downs, according to outside linebacker

Paul Vassallo, but the Beavers converted 10 of its 15 third downs, which led to OSU winning the time of possession battle by nearly 13 minutes.  

Behind a 48-y ard touchdown pass to receiver Markus Wheaton, Katz carried the Beavers into the second half with a 17-7 lead.

Arizona had its chance to make a run in the first half, but Foles, who finished with 440 yards, threw an interception in the end zone the drive before the Wheaton touchdown and kicker Alex Zendejas missed a 37-yard field goal at the end of the first half. Zendejas also had an extra point blocked early in the second half that would have given Arizona a chance to go for a two-point conversion and tie the score late in the game.

“”Missing scoring opportunities in the first half, you can’t do that,”” Stoops said.

The Wildcats started the second half with a bang as running back Keola Antolin scored on a 33-yard burst on the first drive of the third quarter. A Katz rushing touchdown stretched the lead back to 23-13, but Nic Grigsby’s 41-yard catch and run with 3:20 left in the third gave Arizona another glimmer of hope.

But OSU running back Jacquizz Rodgers scored on a 1-yard dive with 5:46 left in the fourth to push the lead to nine after the point after touchdown was missed.

Antolin scored on a Foles pass with 1:52 left, but the late-game magic ran out for Arizona for the first time all season as it couldn’t recover the onside kick and suffered its first defeat of the 2010 season.

The loss isn’t all that alarming, as the Beavers were expected to be among the top three teams in the conference, but it was the lack of effort and preparation that’s a cause for concern.

“”There’s no question they came out and showed it to us on our home turf and took it to us, and we’ve got to get a whole heck of a lot better than that if we expect to compete with the rest of the Pac-10,”” Brown said.

Stoops added: “”I think we let a good opportunity slip through our hands in not playing particularly well. I don’t know if we lost our edge or took things for granted or what, but we’ll have to look at the film and get some things corrected.””

Arizona in the rankings

Because of the loss, Arizona dropped from No. 9 in the AP poll to No. 17. The Wildcats also slid from No. 11 in the USA Today coaches poll to No. 20.

With the win, Oregon State entered the Top 25 at No. 24 in the AP poll.

Wildcats defense

Arizona fell from the country’s No. 2 scoring defense to No. 10, now yielding 14.6 points per game. Its pass defense slipped all the way to No. 34 in the country, now allowing 182.2 passing yards per game.

The rushing defense actually increased, moving to No. 16 in the country allowing less than 100 yards per game at 99.6. Arizona did give up its first two rushing touchdowns of the season on Saturday.

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