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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Oregon gets its revenge in Pac-12 Championship Game with 51-13 rout of Arizona

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Arizona wide receiver Spencer Marciniak (25) attempts to deter Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington (87) as he catches a touchdown pass during Arizona’s 51-13 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Conference Championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Arizona football started the Pac-12 Championship Game by losing the coin toss, and it didn’t get much better from there. In the rain and before a half-empty stadium, the No. 7/8 Wildcats (10-3) lost the Pac-12 Championship Game 51-13 to No. 2/3 Oregon (12-1).

The UA had won two games in a row against the Ducks, 42-16 last year in Tucson and 31-24 in Eugene, Ore., in October. However, Oregon won the most meaningful game of the last three, taking the Pac-12 Championship, likely securing a spot in the College Football Playoff and ending Arizona’s playoff hopes.

As usual, UA head coach Rich Rodriguez began the postgame press conference with a statement, but this was much shorter than the normal one- or two-minute ones.

“It wasn’t a good night, next,” Rodriguez said.

Arizona started the game six points in the hole, after Oregon kicked a field goal on the first drive and kicked another one following a fumble by Tyrell Johnson on the kick off.

The Wildcats responded with a seven-play drive that ended in a punt, but it was their longest possession until the third quarter. Arizona proceeded to have six straight drives that ended in three and outs.

“It was just us not being on the same page, and if I’m not doing well — it all starts with me — and that’s just what happened today,” UA starting quarterback Anu Solomon said.

Solomon was 6-for-12 for 34 yards passing before missing the second half.

The first question of the press conference was if the UA changed quarterbacks because Solomon was hurt.

“We’ll start with that, OK,” Rodriguez said. “Anu’s been battling through the injury for a month, and I’m proud of the way he’s competed. It wasn’t a good night.”

Solomon has been battling an ankle injury, which led to him missing much of the Utah game and be listed as questionable for the Territorial Cup last week.

Back up Jesse Scroggins was 3-for-9 for 79 yards, one touchdown and an interception, and ran for 19 yards on three carries. Third-string quarterback Jerrard Randall was 0-for-5 passing and ran for 74 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown.

“The training staff, they’ve done a really good job just getting me well, and even without me, we’ll still be well with Jesse, Gerrard and Connor [Brewer],” Solomon said. “ I feel like we just got to move on from this and be well.”

Rodriguez pulled Scroggins in favor of Randall, but put Scroggins back in before ending the game with Randall, who scored on a 25-yard touchdown run on the game’s last play.

Solomon downplayed the injury’s impact.

“At times it’s a challenge, but everyone’s hurt, so I got to tough it out,” Solomon said.

Oregon racked up 617 yards of total offense compared to 224 for Arizona. The Wildcats had seven total three and outs in 16 drives and punted 10 times.

“They just played better than us today,” UA defensive lineman Dan Pettinato said.

The Wildcats defense held the Ducks scoreless for three straight drives after UO scored its first six points, and then another punt after Oregon scored its first touchdown. Shortly after, the floodgates opened. In the second and third quarters, Oregon scored on its next five drives, and four of those were touchdowns.

Rodriguez said the defense got tired and wore down.

“They battled and competed and played a lot of plays,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t get first downs on offense, and so the defense had to get back out there.”

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was 25-for-38 passing for 303 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for 33 yards on 10 carries with three touchdowns.

After rushing for at least 178 yards in his last two games, Arizona running back Nick Wilson ran for 26 yards on 13 carries.

“It seemed like it was almost a different reason every time,” Rodriguez said about the struggles the running game had. “We’ll examine it and get better from it and get ready for the bowl game.”

Not only did the loss cost Arizona a shot at the playoff, it also may have knocked them out of a New Year’s Six bowl, and ended one its best regular season’s ever on a sour note.

“Well it’s not the end; we got a bowl game,” Rodriguez said. “Tonight is disappointing the way we played, and we got to give them a lot of credit. They’re a very good football team, and we didn’t play well tonight.”

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