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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcats can’t catch up to Beavers

    Senior quarterback Kris Heavner scrambles out of the pocket  during Arizonas 17-10 loss to Oregon State Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. Heavner threw for 161 yards but also threw two interceptions and failed to lead the offense to a touchdown.
    Senior quarterback Kris Heavner scrambles out of the pocket during Arizona’s 17-10 loss to Oregon State Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. Heavner threw for 161 yards but also threw two interceptions and failed to lead the offense to a touchdown.

    The Arizona football team came into Saturday’s game against Oregon State knowing that to win, it couldn’t ask too much of quarterback Kris Heavner, its third starter in three weeks.

    Indeed, a 14-point first-quarter deficit proved too much for Heavner and the Wildcats to overcome, as they fell 17-10 in front of a Family Weekend crowd of 57,113 at Arizona Stadium.

    “”We take it as we should be able to pitch shutouts,”” said junior safety Dominic Patrick. “”If we know our offense isn’t going to put up 50 points, we should take it as a defense to hold them to less points.””

    Heavner entered having only four days of practice as the No. 1 quarterback in relief of injured starters Willie Tuitama and Adam Austin.

    Co-offensive coordinator Mike Canales said after the game that the offense was intentionally scaled down to accommodate its inexperience behind center.

    As Heavner led the team downfield in critical situations at the end of the game, he showed the rust accumulated since his last start for the Wildcats (3-5, 1-4 Pacific 10 Conference) in 2004.

    He threw an interception right into the hands of Beavers linebacker Joey LaRoque on Oregon State’s 45-yard line with 2:25 remaining. He was also picked off again on a desperation heave toward the end zone on the final play of the game.

    The senior finished 16-of-27 for 161 yards and no touchdowns.

    “”We lost, it doesn’t matter,”” he said of his performance. “”We should have played better.””

    The Beavers (4-3, 2-2) hurt Heavner’s chances of building an early offensive rhythm by chewing up more than 10 minutes of the first quarter, thanks in large part to running back Yvenson Bernard’s 68 rushing yards.

    Oregon State quarterback Matt Moore found wide receiver Sammie Stroughter for a 34-yard touchdown seven minutes into the game and scored another one himself on a 1-yard run with 12 seconds left in the quarter.

    Bernard carried 26 times for 107 yards, while Moore went 16-of-22 for 181 yards and two interceptions.

    “”We had a good running game tonight,”” OSU head coach Mike Riley said. “”I would have liked to have taken away a couple of turnovers, but we had great balance against (Arizona).””

    Holding on to a 14-10 lead, Oregon State capitalized on a pass-interference call on cornerback Antoine Cason to move to Arizona’s 35 with eight minutes remaining.

    Moore hit Stroughter for a 25-yard gain two plays later, and Beavers kicker Alexis Serna converted a 18-yard field goal to make the score 17-10.

    The Wildcats scored their only touchdown on wide receiver Syndric Steptoe’s 67-yard punt return late in the third quarter.

    Steptoe took Kyle Loomis’ 34-yard punt at Arizona 33 and dashed untouched down the east sideline to close Oregon State’s lead to 14-10.

    It was the Wildcats’ first punt return for a score since Steptoe’s 63-yard return against UCLA last November.

    Still, the achievement only went to highlight the inability of Arizona’s offense to take advantage of an overall solid defensive effort.

    “”Scoring points in tough situations seemed to be the difference between winning and losing,”” UA head coach Mike Stoops said. “”That’s play-calling, it’s execution, it’s inexperience. That’s just how it is.

    “”We just got to find a way to get better.””

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