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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

HALFTIME: Oregon 13, Arizona 0

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Kyle Johnson/Arizona Daily Wildcat

EUGENE, ORE., — In a game pitting Arizona’s fourth-ranked offense against Oregon’s seventh ranked offense, it was the defensive units that decided to show up in the first half, and Oregon leads 13-0.

This is the first time the Wildcats have entered halftime without any points since last season against Oklahoma State (a 37-14 blowout).

No. 22 Arizona held the No. 3 Ducks to just 13 points on 255 yards and forced two turnovers. But the Ducks were even better, as the Wildcats managed just 134 yards in the half and went 0-for-4 in the red zone.

Arizona shut down the prolific Oregon offense on it’s first drive, forcing the Ducks to go four-and-out in front of a raucous crowd at Autzen Stadium, giving Arizona the ball on a short field.

Arizona managed to gain some ground with the good field position, but the drive stalled at the four. The Wildcats kicking woes traveled with to Eugene as the Wildcats snap was bad and punter Kyle Dugandzic couldn’t place the ball down for the attempt.

Oregon’s second drive went worse than its first as the Wildcats continued to penetrate into the backfield and stop the run.

On a third and long, redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota tried scrambling for the first down but was hit by safety Maquis Flowers and the ball popped loose. Arizona recovered and again had the ball in great position at the 11-yard-line.

But the Wildcats matched the Ducks early game sloppiness as quarterback Matt Scott was picked off by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Scott went 10-for-21 for 89 yards and that interception in the half.

Oregon finally broke through the stalemate with 5:42 left in the first quarter to go up 7-0. The Ducks went 88 yards yards on 10 plays and Mariota capped it off with a 17 yard touchdown pass to Daryle Hawkins.

Backup quarterback B.J. Denker made a brief cameo for Arizona, starting its drive two passes for 22 yards. Scott then returned and drove the Wildcats into the redzone for the third straight trip.

But again Arizona failed to convert, even with a first and goal from the two yardline. Scott tried scrambling on fourth and goal but was stuffed on the play. The UA had just 23 yards on the ground and sophomore Ka’Deem Carey had just 10 yards on nine attempts.

While the offense continued to struggle, the defense again stepped up. Safety Jared Tevis hit runningback De’Anthony Thomas hard, forcing the Heisman candidate to fumble and UA recovered. Thomas had 50 yards rushing on 10 carries in the half.

The Wildcats still couldn’t overcome the redzone nightmare though and Oregon blocked kicker John Bonano’s 31-yard attempt. Arizona went 0-for-4 in the redzone in the first half, a stark contrast to its relative success this year. The UA was 17 for 22 in redzone trips with 13 touchdowns coming into the night.

After a Ducks three and out, Scott hit receivers Austin Hill and Johnny Jackson for 18-yard catches apiece. But, after Jackson caught the ball, he tried hurdling an Oregon player and was hit hard mid-air and fumbled the ball away to the Ducks.

The turnover led to a 17 play, 62-yard drive by Oregon but the Wildcats defense tightened up in the endzone and held the Ducks to a 27-yard field goal by Beard.

Oregon finished off the half with another methodical drive, going 50 yard on 16 plays. The Ducks again settled for a field goal, this time from 41 yards.

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