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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Last-second field goal dooms ‘Cats

    Oregon State kicker Justin Kahut could have been the goat Saturday night.

    With less than four minutes left in a defensive battle between Arizona and No. 21 Oregon State, the game appeared to be decided by a missed extra point by the sophomore.

    The Wildcats (6-5, 4-4 Pacific 10 Conference) then converted a third and nine play with an unlikely 10-yard run by quarterback Willie Tuitama.

    But then, with the Arizona players and fans sensing the upset, the Beavers (8-3, 7-1) silenced Arizona Stadium with one play and sank the hearts of the 48,503 fans in attendance as Kahut got redemption in the form of a 24-yard field goal as time expired giving the Beavers the 19-17 win.

    “”That game right there is probably the game I’ve hurt the most from this year,”” quarterback Willie Tuitama said. “”Our guys played really well throughout tonight; we had no turnovers.

    “”We left it all out on the field,”” he added. “”It just didn’t turn out our way.””

    Through the game’s first 30-minutes, the difference between the Wildcats and the Beavers was barely visible.

    Three yards separated the two squads offensively while the score reflected the stalemate contest. With defense highlighting the opening two quarters, Arizona and OSU could muster one only field goal each before the whistle sounded.

    But in the second half, the Beavers found a hole in the Arizona defense and quickly exploited the Wildcats’ weakness in the form of wide receiver James Rodgers.

    Rodgers tore up Arizona’s defense with a string of end-around runs en route to for 102 yards rushing including a 7-yard touchdown run which capped an eight-play, 61-yard drive on the Beaver’s opening second-half possession.

    Arizona appeared flustered by the score as a quick three-and-out gave the ball back to OSU on their own 47 yard-line at the eight-minute mark in the 3rd quarter. But thanks to a trio of false start penalties by the Beavers, Arizona got the ball right back giving Tuitama a chance to stop the bleeding and regain the momentum.

    A 13-play, 76-yard drive later, capped by a touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski, Arizona found itself right back in the contest, knotting the game at 10.

    On their next drive, the Wildcats once again found the end zone on a 9-yard rush by running back Keola Antolin which gave Arizona the lead back with less than nine minutes to play.

    “”I felt like we could run it pretty well. They’re hard to throw against, they don’t give you a lot of easy throws,”” said UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. “”We were trying to control the ball and move the clock. We had very few big plays and that’s something we’ve been able to do in the past.””

    But before the Wildcats could enjoy the lead, the Beavers used the next four and a half minutes to move themselves to Arizona’s seven yard line where they scored on a pass to senior wide receiver Sammie Stroughter.

    After a missed PAT, Arizona got a chance to seal the game on offense. After converting on their first third down conversion of the drive, the Wildcats were forced into a third and eight situation, but Antolin managed only to gain six yards forcing an Arizona punt.

    “”They were playing the run hard all night, we just couldn’t get that extra yardage on that play,”” head coach Mike Stoops said of the third down play. “”We stole one first down with (Tuitama’s) run and even though we came up short on that second (third down) conversion, I felt we did everything right.””

    Arizona final chance to put away the win came with less than a minute remaining with OSU backed up on its own 40. Then came the shocker as Stoughter managed to get separation from Arizona cornerback Devin Ross and hauled in a 47 yard pass, moving OSU to the Wildcats’ seven yard line. Three plays later, Kahut blasted the ball through the uprights as the remaining four seconds ticked off the clock, preventing OSU’s second conference loss.

    “”As far as the last play goes, I think we weren’t all there mentally,”” linebacker Ronnie Palmer said. “”(OSU) was trying to make big plays all night and they finally got that one in the end. We just have to execute on defense better…we need to learn from this loss.””

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