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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats trample Oklahoma State in upset

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Colin Prenger/Arizona Daily Wildcat

The recipe for an upset: defensive touchdowns, costly penalties and most importantly, a winning turnover battle.

For Arizona (2-0) it was check, check and check, leading to a 59-38 upset of then-No. 18 Oklahoma State (1-1) in front of 45,602 fans at Arizona Stadium.

“Im gonna enjoy this one for 24 hours,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “We’re still shaking our head. But stranger things have happened.

“You can coach off a win and you can coach off a loss. It’s a hell of a lot better to coach off a win. You sleep a lot better, food tastes a lot better. I’m happier to the wife and kids. Everybody’s happy. This is a nice win.”

The victory was Arizona’s first against a ranked opponent since Sept. 18, 2010, a 34-27 win over No. 9 Iowa at home.

The Wildcats picked off Oklahoma State’s Wes Lunt three times, including a decisive 48-yard pick six by sophomore corner Jonathan McKnight early in the fourth quarter that made the potential upset possible.

“That just got us fired up,” said safety Jared Tevis, who had two interceptions of his own. “We knew from there on that we were going to win this dog fight. McKnight is a great player and we knew he was just waiting to break out and have a breakout play.”

Simply put, nothing was going the Cowboys’ way, as evidenced by 15 penalties in total for a school record 167 yards.

“They were committing stupid fouls,” quarterback Matt Scott said. “Late (hits), holding — they had a bunch of penalties. I guess you could say it helped us out but obviously we still had to play.”

Scott submitted another standout performance, completing 28-of-41 passes for 320 yards and adding another 55 yards on the ground.

Scott also threw two touchdowns and ran for one more without committing a single turnover.

After the Wildcats gave away the ball three times last week, Scott said throughout the week that emphasis was put on not turning the ball over. That added attention paid off, as the Wildcats didn’t commit any turnovers and took the ball away from OSU four times, including three interceptions.

“We knew they were going to try and strip the ball from us, that’s what kind of a team they are,” Scott said. “They live and thrive with turnovers.”

Ka’Deem Carey’s 121 yards on the ground didn’t hurt either, especially since the sophomore only had 27 yards by halftime. Carey had four scores on the night, including a final one-yard dive at the end of the game, securing another victory Saturday for the Pac-12 conference, which toppled three different top-20 opponents.

“It’s the best win I’ve had here at Arizona,” joked Rodriguez when asked where the win ranks in his career. “Last week’s was nice but this one’s even nicer.”

Oklahoma State started the game off strong, scoring two touchdowns in its first two possessions before eight minutes had even ticked off the clock. The ease of the Cowboys’ two scores made it seem like the game was going to get ugly, and fast.

But thanks to the heap of penalties by OSU and some inspired play from the Wildcats’ defense, Arizona scored 23 unanswered points (30 extending into third quarter) and had a nine-point advantage heading into half.

The Arizona defense contained star running back Joseph Randle, who scored 24 touchdowns in 2011, to 65 yards on 13 carries in the first half. Randle finished the game with 123 yards on 23 attempts.

At the start of the second half things looked to be turning in Oklahoma State’s favor after it rolled down the field for another two quick touchdowns, but Scott and the Arizona offense stayed poised and stuck with a prolific Oklahoma State team.

“(Scott) is as good of a competitor as I’ve been around,” Rodriguez said. “He’s certainly the key of our offensive performance.”

The Cowboys also had solid production from their quarterback as Lunt went 37-for-60 for 436 yards on the night. A mistake made early in the fourth quarter by the freshman proved costly for OSU.

Arizona, which had no sacks on the night, pressured Lunt on a long third down attempt and the freshman floated a pass to his receiver.

McKnight jumped the throw and made his way down the field untouched for a pick six, officially putting the nail in the coffin for Oklahoma State, which fell out of the top-25 after the loss.

“Without question that was the play of the game,” Rodriguez said.

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