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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Final: Washington State defeats Arizona football 45-42

Receiver+Nate+Phillips+%286%29+runs+the+football+down+the+field+for+a+touchback.+The+final+score+was+45-42+Washington+State.

Receiver Nate Phillips (6) runs the football down the field for a touchback. The final score was 45-42 Washington State.

Arizona football asked for a Homecoming miracle.

Washington State quarterback Luke Falk wasn’t in on the memo.

The sophomore gunslinger threw for 514 and five touchdowns as the Cougars upset Arizona 45-42 and all but ended the Wildcats’ Pac-12 South title hopes.

Falk kept the UA secondary on its toes all day by completing 47 of 62 attempts, including a game-clinching, fourth-quarter touchdown that increased the Cougars’ lead to 45-35.

“It was very frustrating,” Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said of the Cougars’ offensive scheme. “It was not anything that was new from they have done before.”

Arizona attempted to replicate last year’s heroics, as the Wildcats marched down the field and answered on a 20-yard touchdown reception from Jerrard Randall to Johnny Jackson.

But the UA was unable to recover the ensuing onside kick, and Washington State ran out the clock on the game’s final drive.

Randall replaced starting quarterback Anu Solomon in the third quarter after Solomon struggled to find a groove passing the ball.

With Randall in at quarterback, Arizona moved the ball better; the mobile quarterback ran the ball for 105 yards and passed for another 137.

“He did a great job,” wide receiver Cayleb Jones said. “His number was called late and he was ready.”

Randall finished with a pair of touchdowns, while running back Jared Baker ran for three touchdowns. Baker took the majority of handoffs as Nick Wilson played sparingly with a lasting foot injury.

In total, Arizona managed 483 yards of offense compared to Washington State’s 631.

The Cougars also capitalized on a fumbled kick return by Arizona returner Shun Brown in the second quarter.

At the time, the Wildcats were only down 21-14. After Washington State recovered the fumble, the Cougars scored and pushed the lead to two touchdowns.

Washington State held a double digit lead for most of the second half until Arizona cut the deficit to 38-35 with 8:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Instead of coming up with a key defensive stop, the Wildcats allowed Falk and the WSU offense to run a fateful 11 play, 5:58 scoring drive.


Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.


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