Oregon runs away from Arizona

The first half could not have gone any worse for Arizona and it wound up costing the Wildcats as they lost to Oregon 56-31 Saturday night.

Arizona knew it would have to start strong against Oregon.

Instead, it did everything but.

Oregon's offense dominated in the early going and Arizona had absolutely no answers as it lost to Oregon 56-31 at Arizona Stadium Saturday night.

"i thought the first half was very frustrating and humiliating in some ways," Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said. "We were down and we didn't play well and when you get down early to a team like Oregon, it's difficult to come back."

Oregon decided to start with the ball and it did not take long at all to get on the board. Darron Thomas ran for four yards and was brought down by a Lamar De Rego horse collar tackle that gave the Ducks the ball at their own 39. Thomas then found David Paulson for six yards and followed with a ten-yard run of his own.

Thomas then gained nine on the ground and completed his first pass to Rahsaan Vaughn for six yards. Oregon followed with a nine-yard run by Thomas and James and then a James 12-yard run with the extra point gave the Ducks the 7-0 lead, as the drive lasted only 2:42.

On Arizona's drive, Juron Criner was able to draw a pass interference penalty, but the Wildcats could not get much going beyond that. It was forced to punt and the Ducks looked like they could be forced out in three downs before Thomas found LaMichael James for an eight-yard reception for the first down. Two plays later, James had a 16-yard run and De'Anthony Thomas followed with an 18-yard completion.

Two plays later, Kenjon Barner gained 16 on the ground and two more plays later, scored from eight out as the extra point made it 14-0. At that point, the Ducks had two scoring drives that combined for 158 yards on 18 plays and lasted only 5:01.

Arizona got the ball back at its own 29 and started with an incomplete pass. Nick Foles then found Keola Antolin or two yards and followed with a pass to a wide-open David Roberts, who unfortunately dropped the open pass and forced the UA to punt.

Arizona forced Oregon to finally punt and started with the ball on its own 28. Three plays into the drive, Criner caught a 19-yard pass. Richard Morrison followed with a seven-yard reception and Ka'Deem Carey had a 15-yard run on the next play. Carey then ran for seven and two more plays Arizona was forced into a fourth and short. Carey picked it up with a one-yard run and the Wildcats were in business on Oregon's 15.

After a four-yard pass to Dan Buckner, Foles threw two incompletions in a row to him and Alex Zendejas was forced to go for the 28-yard field goal, which was good and cut the Oregon lead to 14-3.

It did not take long at all for the Ducks to answer, as Barber had a 15-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later, James caught a seven-yard pass and then followed with a 42-yard run. Two plays after that, Thomas found Paulson for the 10-yard touchdown as the extra point and 2:03 drive made it 21-3.

Arizona started at its own six with a five-yard run by Carey and then David Roberts followed with a 40-yard completion. The Wildcats then proceeded to throw three straight incompletions, capped off by a dropped pass by Juron Criner on an underthrown ball on what would have been a touchdown.

On Oregon's next drive, Arizona would have forced a three and out, but a personal foul was called to keep the drive alive. However, the Wildcats stepped up again and forced the Ducks to punt, giving Arizona the ball at its own 15.

The Wildcats started with an illegal motion penalty and two plays later Foles found Criner for a 17-yard completion. The drive then stalled and Foles was sacked on third down, forcing Arizona to punt on 4th and 21.

Oregon started on its own 45 and you had a feeling that the Ducks would come back and score. Two plays into the drive, James had an 18-yard run and Mohammed Usman was called for a 15-yard penalty for hands to the face.

Two plays later, James had a seven-yard run and Josh Huff gained 18 in the air two plays later. Barner then scored from six yards out as the extra point made it 28-3 in favor of Oregon with a little over five minutes left in the first half.

Arizona still could not get anything going on its next drive, going for a three and out due in large part to a holding penalty. The Ducks took over in good field position due to a great punt return and started its drive with a four-yard run by Thomas and loss of one by Barber. On the next play, Paulson gained six through the air and Oregon went for it on fourth and one. James got the opportunity and bounced off tacklers to get the 19-yard touchdown, as the extra point made it 35-3.

The Wildcats tried to get something going before the half, as Foles found David Douglas for a 44-yard gain and Carey followed with a six-yard run to put the UA at Oregon's 38. Foles then ran for a four-yard gain, but followed with an incomplete pass. On the next play, he found Morrison for a 34-yard touchdown pass, as the blocked extra point cut it to 35-10.

Arizona tried to get some trickery with an onside kick and recovered at Oregon's 46. Foles found Douglas for a 15-yard gain, followed by a pass for a loss of three to Criner.On the next play, Foles threw an incomplete pass to Douglas and was then sacked, ending the Arizona attempt to score one more time before half.

Arizona started the second half by going to the ground, as Antolin gained eight, one, and seven on consecutive carries. Three plays later, Morrison caught a 12-yard pass to Oregon's 46. Douglas followed with one for 18 and Criner had a catch go for 15 yards. Two plays later, Morrison caught a six-yard pass and then Antolin ran it in from seven, as the extra point makes it 35-16 with 10:30 left in the third quarter.

Arizona then held Oregon and got the ball back and started on its own 35-yard line with a 31-yard pass to Criner. After three straight plays for no gain, Foles found David Douglas for a 12-yard gain to Oregon's 22. Two plays later, Douglas had another 12-yard gain and two plays after that, Roberts scored on an eight-yard pass. Arizona scored the two-point conversion with Foles finding Douglas and Arizona cut the lead to 35-24 with 5:43 left in the third quarter.

Arizona's momentum did not last long, as the Ducks started on their own 25 with a 15-yard pass from Thomas to Lavasier Tuinei, followed by a 31-yard run by James and seven yards on the ground for Barner to get to Arizona's 22-yard line. James then gained eight yards on the ground and followed with a loss of one.

After an incomplete pass, Barner gained ten yards on 3rd and 11, as Oregon went for it on fourth down. Thomas ran it in from five yards out on the down and Oregon took momentum back from Arizona, as the extra point made it 42-24 with 3:19 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats started on their own 40 after a solid return by Carey. Foles found Criner for three yards and then Morrison for five. Antolin then had a one-yard run and on fourth and one, gained six for the first down. On the next play, Foles completed an 11-yard pass to Antolin and Carey followed with a two-yard run to end the quarter.

Arizona started the quarter with a three-yard pass to Criner and was then forced to go for it on fourth down two plays later. On fourth and six, Foles found Gino Crump for 20 yards to get to Oregon's 10-yard line. Two plays later, Carey had a five-yard run and a few plays later, the UA had to go for it on fourth down. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Foles was sacked on fourth and goal from the six with 12:24 left in the game.

On Oregon's next drive, the game was basically ended by the legs of James, as he ran for 27 yards on the first carry from scrimmage and 22 on the second. Barber then followed with a two-yard and six-yard run. On third and two, Barner easily ran it in and the extra point made it 49-24 with a little under ten minutes left.

Arizona's answer started with a 16-yard pass to Douglas, followed by eight yards to Crump. Taimi Tutogi then ran for ten and Roberts caught a pass for nine, followed by seven from Crump. Antolin followed with a 16-yard run and Foles completed a three-yard pass to Crump followed by a two-yard run by Antolin. The next pass attempt was incomplete and on fourth and goal from the four, Foles found Roberts for the touchdown as the extra point cut it to 49-31 with 6:29 left.

"I'll tell you what: I'm glad Nick Foles is graduating," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes. I wish it was against something else, though. Nick is a hell of a football player. That kid's a warrior. He's as good as anyone in the country."

Oregon would later add a touchdown, as James finished the game with 23 carries for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

"LaMichael James was spectacular tonight," Stoops said. "We just couldn't find a way to stop him. His speed and footwork really worked against our defensive line, which is very young."

Arizona's drops plagued it throughout the night, something that even Kelly alluded to in the postgame.

"If those receivers make some of those catches, this is a much closer ballgame," he said. "Sometimes it wasn't us beating them, it was them beating themselves." Stoops agreed, saying that his receivers had one of the worst performances he can remember.

"I think our receivers played the worst they have all season in the first half," he said. "I don't have any real answers. We were just unprepared to play."

Now, attention turns to USC, a team that lost to Arizona State on Saturday night.

"We just need to develop some leadership and we were overwhelmed over the three games," he said. "I'm pleased to see that we were able to improve tonight and there are a lot of lessons that we learned tonight that we can take it into next week's match at USC. We just need to play better and find that proper leadership and someone that just needs to make those big plays."

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