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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona trip to Eugene, Ore., unsuccessful

Mason Trinca
Mason Trinca / Emerald Arizona Wildcat’s wide reciever, Tyler Slavin, fails an attempt to secure the ball for a touch down. Oregon’s defense shut down Arizona with an impressive 49-0 performance.

EUGENE, Ore., — Arizona’s five-game winning streak dating back to last season came to a screeching halt at the hands of No. 2 Oregon, as the Ducks shut out the Wildcats 49-0 on a wet and sloppy night at Autzen Stadium.

A game expected to be dominated by high flying offenses turned into a defensive clinic by Oregon (4-0) that kept Arizona (3-1) out of the end zone for the first time since the Wildcats’ 33-0 loss to No. 22 Nebraska in the 2009 Holiday Bowl.

“Obviously that one hurts,” safety Marquis Flowers said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow but we’re gonna get better and move on.”

The lack of scoring wasn’t just a case of a superior Ducks team though, as the Wildcats were handed multiple opportunities they didn’t capitalize on even one.

The Wildcats turned the ball over five times and wasted great field position all throughout the first half. Arizona finished the game 0-for-6 in the red zone, including two failed field goal attempts and two interceptions.

“It’s just disappointing we didn’t execute better,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “I have to do a better job of giving our offensive guys opportunities to execute better, especially in the red zone.

“You can’t afford to do that against anybody, let alone Oregon.”

Arizona entered the game with the fourth-ranked offense in the nation, but only tallied 332 yards on the night, with a good chunk of those yards coming when the game was already out of reach.

Quarterback Matt Scott never found his rhythm and the offense as a whole couldn’t get in sync in front of a sellout crowd of 58,334 at Autzen Stadium.

Scott was 22-for-44 for 210 yards passing and three interceptions.

Scott battled a hip injury sustained in the middle of the first quarter, but even before the injury, he wasn’t playing at the same level as during the first three games of the season.

“He had a lot of courage,” Rodriguez said about Scott. “He came back and battled so I give him a lot of credit.

“Was he as sharp as the other games? No. But I think [Oregon] had something to do with that.”

The Wildcats couldn’t establish a running game either, as Ka’Deem Carey was held to just 13 yards in the first half. Carey finished with 79 yards but most came when the game was as good as lost.

“It was difficult to establish the run because [Scott] got banged up a bit early … but it’s no excuse,” co-starting running back Daniel Jenkins said. “We didn’t execute tonight and that led to the final score.”

Oregon gained 495 total yards on the night, but the typically high scoring offense was held to just 13 points at halftime. Arizona also had three takeaways — two fumble recoveries forced by safety Jared Tevis and an interception by corner Jonathan McKnight.

“They played great,” Scott said about the defense. “They were the only reason why we were still in the game, that’s all I can say really. They played great and the offense didn’t finish drives.”

But the Wildcats couldn’t keep the Ducks’ numerous weapons quiet forever, and the game broke wide open on a return by star running back De’Anthony Thomas with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter.

Thomas was held in check on the offensive end, gaining just 48 yards rushing and without a catch, but the Heisman candidate made his presence known on special teams. On his only punt return of the game, Thomas weaved through the Arizona coverage team for 38 yards and injected life into the Oregon crowd.

On the Ducks’ first play after the return, quarterback Marcus Mariota hit receiver Colt Lyerla down the left sideline for 35 yards. Lyerla then ran it in from a yard out to go up 21-0 late in the third and put the dagger in Arizona.

The floodgates flew open after that score, thanks in part to pick sixes thrown by Scott and backup B.J. Denker, and when it was all said and done, the Wildcats were humiliated in their first road game of the year.

“Obviously that hurts when you look at the scoreboard,” Flowers said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s representative or not, that’s [the score] everyone’s gonna look at. It hurts, I wish it would’ve came out different.”

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