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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA’s issues in Ducks game symbolic of season

Eugene, Ore. — It was a tale of two halves in the game for the Arizona Wildcats against then-No. 1 Oregon Ducks Friday at Autzen Stadium.

Unfortunately for Arizona, the same can be said about the Wildcats’ season.

The Wildcats took a 19-14 lead into halftime.

But Arizona gave up 34 points in the second half before eventually losing 48-29 to an Oregon team determined to keep its perfect record and national championship dreams alive.

For Arizona, its game at Oregon showed a microcosm of its season.

Both the game and the season have had a costly special teams mistake, drive killing penalties on offense, failing to get off the field on third and fourth downs, and a let down in the second half when the game — or in the larger picture, the season — was on the line.

Like the beginning of the Oregon game, the beginning of the season looked promising for Arizona, who recorded the best start for the program since 1999.

The second half against the Ducks saw Oregon receiver Josh Huff break away for an 85-yard touchdown, marking Arizona’s first hiccup in the game. All hope wasn’t lost for the game just yet, however.

Similarly, Arizona’s game stumbled at home against Oregon State and was the first bump in the Wildcats’ season, but things weren’t out of hand for Arizona at that point.

But the Wildcats’ play in the second half against Oregon fizzled, as had their play in the second half of the Pacific 10 Conference.

Three straight losses against Stanford, Southern California and Oregon mark the first winless November for the Wildcats since 2000.

After the game, co-defensive coordinator Tim Kish said the Ducks’ ability to move the ball so easily against the defense in the second half was “”demoralizing.””

Arizona’s performance in its last three games has also been demoralizing to a season that started so promising.

Now, it’s the fourth quarter in the Wildcats’ season. There’s only one all-important rivalry game left in the regular season. One chance to break the winless streak before heading to a bowl game.

So how does Arizona right the ship?

The answer can again be found in Arizona’s performance in the fourth quarter of its last game.

Although it was a mere consolation at the time, quarterback Nick Foles hit receiver David Roberts for a 32-yard touchdown with 10:45 left in the game.

The Wildcats have the same chance to get a consolation at the end of their season — win against ASU on Thursday.

The win would put the Wildcats over .500 in conference play and make their record 8-4 for the second consecutive season.

While 2010 won’t be remembered as the year that the Wildcats broke their Rose Bowl drought or had the stellar season that it was carved out to be at the beginning of the year, it could be remembered as the year Arizona ended on a high note.

In the perspective of Arizona’s season, the finale starts with that consolation victory against ASU late in the year.

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