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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona’s no stranger to upsetting Oregon

Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics
November 18, 2017. Freshman running back J.J. Taylor (21) during the Wildcats 48-28 loss to the Oregon Ducks. Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR.

One of the oldest and most heated rivalries in college football is the Territorial Cup, when Arizona squares up against its in-state rival Arizona State.

But over the last five years, Arizona has caused quite the commotion against a team from the Pac-12 North, the Oregon Ducks. While the Wildcats look to keep their slim chances of a bowl birth alive, they face a tough competitor on their Homecoming weekend. However, a hot Oregon team is nothing new to the ‘Cats, as they shocked the nation with a win over a No. 5 ranked Oregon in 2013 and a No. 2 ranked Oregon in 2014.

Let’s take a look back at the recent thrilling games between Oregon and Arizona.

Nov. 23, 2013: Arizona defeats No. 5 Oregon at Arizona Stadium, 42-16

The last time the Ducks made the trip South to Tucson, they came to town with a high-flying offense powered by Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. The ‘Cats hadn’t beaten the Ducks since 2007, losing five straight games to Oregan during that time. To make matters worse, a year earlier in 2012 the ‘Cats lost in Eugene by a score of 49-0. 

Oregon seemed to be the favorite any way you looked at it, especially because they held the No. 5 rank in the nation at the time. The ‘Cats defense was in for arguably their biggest challenge of the season with a standout quarterback and future Heisman Trophy winner in Mariota. 

Arizona’s defense came ready to play, holding the Oregon offense to just nine points in the first half and one touchdown in the second half. Before the matchup, Oregon had averaged more than 50 points and 580 yards a game.

Both sides of the ball were firing for the ‘Cats as Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey totaled 208 yards rushing on the day with four touchdowns. Carey’s performance moved him to 3,915 career yards and 49 career touchdowns, a new record for Arizona. 

Oct. 2, 2014: Wildcats take down No. 2 Oregon on the road in Eugene, 31-24 

The very next season the ‘Cats and Ducks faced off in a very similar situation. Oregon held the No. 2 rank in the country and still had Mariota, who would win the Heisman Trophy later that season. Oregon had a real chance at winning the National Championship at the end of the season but that didn’t bother Arizona – the Wildcats had other ideas.

Senior running back Terris Jones-Grigsby had himself a night for the Wildcats as he earned a career-high 210 all-purpose yards. Jones-Grigsby wrapped up his career night with the eventual game-winning touchdown. Redshirt freshman quarterback for Anu Soloman had a night of his own, throwing for 287 yards and a touchdown. Freshman running back Nick Wilson totaled 92 rushing yards, with an impressive three touchdowns to go along with it. 

Despite the lights out day for Arizona’s offense, it was the defense that sealed the deal in Eugene. Sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright ended Oregon’s comeback bid when he caused Mariota to fumble the ball and give possession back to Arizona. 

Dec. 5, 2014: Oregon gets revenge in Pac-12 Championship game, beats Arizona 51-13

In this matchup, Arizona and Oregon met for the second time in the same season to decide the winner of the Pac-12. This game wasn’t as much of a contest, as Arizona couldn’t find the magic it had earlier in the season. Despite the game looking to be a close match-up on paper – Arizona was ranked in the No. 8 spot with Oregon ranked in the No. 3 – this wasn’t the case when the whistle blew. 

The Ducks held Arizona scoreless in the first half and put up 21 points in the third quarter alone. Mariota and Oregon running back Royce Freeman led the Ducks with Mariota throwing for 303 yards and two touchdowns. Freeman rushed for 114 yards with no touchdowns. Despite the blowout loss, Arizona finished the season at 10-4 and won the Pac-12 South title.

Nov. 17, 2017: Justin Hebert guides Ducks to 48-28 win over Arizona in Eugene 

The most recent meeting between the ‘Cats and Ducks featured Heisman hopeful Khalil Tate and hometown hero Justin Herbert. Herbert, a sophomore at the time, grew up in Eugene just 10 minutes from the Ducks’ stadium. 

In this matchup Herbert returned from a broken collarbone that he suffered against Cal, improving the Ducks’ chances of victory. The Oregon defense put a stop to the offensive juggernaut that is Tate, holding him to just 159 yards in the air, one touchdown and two interceptions. 

Oregon running back Royce Freeman shined again against Arizona in his last collegiate season, rushing for four touchdowns. The Ducks walked away with a 20-point victory and put a halt to Tate’s Heisman campaign. 

Follow Cory Kennedy on Twitter

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