Arizona lost to Oregon State on Saturday night for numerous reasons. Read on for a much closer look at why the Wildcats fell short.
Arizona unveiled the new copper helmets on Saturday. Keeping with the copper theme, several things were introduced to Arizona Stadium. In addition to the helmets, the "Arizona" in both end zones was painted copper, copper fireworks were shot off during the pre-game show, and a commemorative copper coin was used for the coin toss.
The Wildcat offense struggled to put up points early in the game for the second straight week. After scoring in bunches the first few weeks of the season, Arizona was shut out for the first quarter against the Beavers and could not find ways to score in the red zone.
In the second quarter, Ka'Deem Carey leapt to a one-yard touchdown run, which ended a scoring drought that lasted nearly six quarters for the Wildcats.
Late in the first quarter on Oregon State's first scoring drive, Arizona forced Oregon State to attempt a 35-yard field goal. Beaver place kicker Trevor Romain pushed the kick wide right. However, a diving Jonathan McKnight nudged him and a running into the kicker penalty was called. Three plays later, Sean Mannion found Markus Wheaton in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
Arizona special teams didn't get any better on Saturday. John Bonano missed a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter when the Wildcats were desperate to put points on the board.
The Wildcat kick return had a tough night as well, returning three kickoffs for an average of 14 yards, which included a nine yard return by Kylan Butler, who hesitated in the end zone before deciding to run with it.
"Every special team is made up of almost all walk-ons and freshmen," Head Coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Especially the kick off return, which is just awful."
Prior to the Arizona game, Oregon State had not given up any points in the first or third quarters. That changed early in the second half when Arizona scored touchdowns on the first two drives of the third quarter, putting it ahead 21-17.
Ka'Deem Carey rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns on the evening. It was the most rushing yards Oregon State had given up to any team all season. The Beavers held Wisconsin to 35 total rushing yards and UCLA to 72. Arizona rushed for 142 yards as a team, but it wasn't enough for the coaches.
"We didn't run very well," Rodriguez said. "23 for 142 isn't very good."
Early in the second quarter, Oregon State scored a touchdown on a Tyler Anderson run to give the Beavers a 17-0 lead. Arizona later recovered from that and took the 21-17 lead on a Ka'Deem Carey run.
Matt Scott had a career night in the losing effort, completing 31 passes for 403 yards. Both of those numbers were career-highs for the senior quarterback. Scott also added three touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was on Arizona's final drive.
"I don't know what Matt saw out there," Rodriguez said. "There were five targets out there that last drive. It's never one play that beats you. It wasn't one play that beat us tonight."
The Wildcat defense had numerous players go down with injuries throughout the game, including Marquis Flowers and Jared Tevis. Flowers returned a few plays later, but missed a big third down play. Tevis left the game permanently after injuring his ankle while defending a pass in the end zone. It was clear after the game that losing him hurt the defense.
"It hurt us when (Tevis) went down," Rodriguez said. "He's one of our best defensive players and he makes plays. We don't have a lot of bodies, but whoever we have out there, those guys need to make plays."
"Losing a player like Tevis obviously hurts," Flowers added. "We believe in all of our players. A guy like Tevis, that hurts, but you have to keep playing."
With the loss, Arizona has now dropped two games in a row after riding a five game winning streak dating back to the end of last season. The loss may be tougher for the Wildcats, losing on the final drive, but they will look to rebound after the next twenty-four hours and look to next week.
"Losing is losing," Rodriguez said. "The kids are battling and they're going to be all right. Just not right now."
"We have another test ahead of us," wide receiver Dan Buckner said. "We fought, but it's never as bad as it seems. We aren't even halfway through the season."