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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Foles improves, D struggles

STILLWATER, Okla. — The similarities between the Alamo Bowl and Arizona’s Thursday night loss to Oklahoma State are endless.

Everything from the eerily similar score to UA’s painfully slow start felt like déjà vu.

For quarterback Nick Foles, however, the two games couldn’t have been more different.

Foles flopped in the Alamodome last season, accounting for three interceptions of Arizona’s four turnovers in his worst performance of 2010. In front of his home state of Texas at the stadium where he’d played multiple times in high school, Foles failed to deliver.

“That game made me grow up, the Alamo Bowl,” Foles said. “That was a tough game playing in your home town.”

But the learning experience prepared Foles for the Cowboys this time around, and it showed in his play. Foles threw for 398 yards and a touchdown on Thursday, giving the quarterback a nation-leading 810 yards on the season.

OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden, who completed a school record 42
passes for 397 yards and two touchdowns, stole the show, but Foles did his part with no help from the running game and with
No. 1 target Juron Criner in Tucson.

Although it came in another embarrassing loss, Foles’ performance allows him to put his Alamo Bowl struggles in the rearview mirror.

“After this game, I’m ready to move on,” Foles said. “This is tough too, but it’s football. I still get to live tomorrow and hopefully keep moving forward.”

Defensive takes a step backward

While Foles did his part, the Arizona defense — namely the secondary — couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain. Weeden shredded the Wildcats’ defensive backfield, an area where senior Robert Golden said the UA needs to grow up.

“I felt like they were more mature than us out there so that’s something that we’ve got to work on and that’s something that I ‘ve been saying we’ve got to work on for the longest – our maturity and being grown out there,” Golden said. “That’s basically what we’ve got to get better at.”

Aside from Golden and senior Trevin Wade, the Wildcats are young in the secondary, and it showed on the field.

Safety Marquis Flowers and nickelback Jourdan Grandon are both in their first season as full-time starters, while starting sophomore cornerback Shaquille Richardson began the year as a starter for the first time as a Wildcat.

For the second straight week, Richardson was picked on and burned time and time again. Though OSU wideout Justin Blackmon does it to most opposing cornerbacks, he made Richardson look silly, twisting and turning him around for 12 catches, 128 yards and two touchdowns.

When Richardson finally made a play, sticking Blackmon on a hitch, he got in the receiver’s face and celebrated when the Wildcats were
down 14-0.

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