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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Dropped passes doom Arizona

For months Arizona coaches and players raved about the Wildcats’ receiving corps.

It was deemed one of the deepest and most talented groups in Arizona history and possibly the country.

But in Oregon’s 56-31 lopsided victory on Saturday at Arizona Stadium, that touted receiving corps dropped the ball — literally.

“That was the worst we’ve ever played in a half of football,” said head coach Mike Stoops of his receiving corps. “I have no real answers for that. We just weren’t prepared to play. I’m frustrated we didn’t catch the ball better in the first half, (Nick Foles) made some great plays, some great throws that we should have made to keep us in the game.”

The trio of wideouts, Juron Criner, David Roberts and Gino Crump, combined to drop four balls in the first half, all passes that would have gone for first downs or touchdowns.

Roberts, who finished the game with four catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns, started the trend on Arizona’s second drive of the game. Foles found him down the seam on 3rd-and-8 for what could have turned into a 59-yard touchdown, or at least a big first down.

But instead, the ball slipped out of Roberts’ hands and Arizona went three and out.

“When things go wrong they just start spiraling out of control. If I could blame anybody, I’d blame myself,” Roberts said. “I had one of the first drops. That’s one thing we can’t do.”

On Arizona’s first drive of the second quarter, the Wildcats drove from their own 6-yard line down to Oregon’s 49. On 1st-and-10, Foles put a ball right on the money to Crump down the right sideline that would have gone for at least 25 yards.

But like Roberts, Crump couldn’t come up with the catch. Two plays later on 3rd-and-10, Criner got behind the Ducks’ secondary and Foles dropped what would have been a huge 49-yard touchdown in the receiver’s bread basket.

Criner, who failed to come down with a couple of balls against Stanford, let the ball slip right through his hands. On Arizona’s next drive, the usually sure-handed Criner dropped yet another pass that was right in his hands, this time on 2nd-and-14.

The completion would have given Arizona a manageable 3rd-and-1, but instead it was forced to punt.

“We got a little lucky today with a few drops and things like that where if those guys made a couple of those catches this thing would have been a little bit tighter than I would have liked,” said Oregon coach Chip Kelly.

Douglas (career-high 120 yards on seven catches) and Richard Morrison (five catches for 64 yards and a score) played well, but the rest of the UA receiver corps forgot to show up.

Foles completed 34-of-57 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Those numbers would have been even more impressive with a few crucial catches here and there.

“Nick’s not perfect, he’s not going to be able to make every single throw,” Douglas said. “There’s times where we’ve got to bail him out as receivers and make plays.

“We weren’t doing that in the first half at all,” he added. “We had drops, we had mistakes. We’ve got to take that personally as a receiving corps and we’ve got to get better this week.”

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