Arizona Drops the Ball Against Oregon State

In what has been a common theme for the Wildcats, mistakes hurt in a 28-14 loss to Oregon State. Turnovers, dropped passes and penalties eliminated any chance for the Wildcats to halt their losing streak.

Arizona was the better team for three quarters of the game, but failing to get on the board in the first quarter hurt them. In the game Arizona had more total yards offensively than Oregon State, but was a few big plays away from making it a close game.

"We had a lot of opportunities," said senior tight end Steve Fleming. "We just didn't come out to play in the first half. Overall, we played a little better in the second half. We didn't come up with enough and ended up with a tough loss."

Fleming had another solid game with three receptions for 34 yards.

In addition to the nine penalties and five dropped passes, the Wildcats committed four turnovers, which led to 14 Beaver points. Arizona's offensive woes continued from the previous week on their opening drive. However, the defense came up big forcing a fumble recovered by Lamon Means giving Arizona the ball back on the Oregon State 39 yard line.

The contributing factor to Arizona's offensive woes during the game was a direct result of Arizona's dropped passes. Most of the passes were right on target from Richard Kovalcheck, but the receivers had difficulty holding onto the ball.

"I was disappointed with the way the receivers played," said Head Coach Mike Stoops. "The passing game hurts this team. It's frustrating to see how the passing game has disintegrated like it has."

Arizona was able to move the ball to the 11 yard line on the strength of three runs by Mike Bell. Unfortunately, a false start penalty put Arizona back to the 16 yard line. Unable to produce yards offensively, Nick Folk was forced to come in and attempt the field goal which sailed wide right.

Bell ended the game with 21 carries for 88 yards, one touchdown and 2 receptions for 10 yards.

Failing to take advantage of the opportunity to put up points early, Oregon State got the ball back on its own 20 yard line. Eight plays and 80 yards later OSU took the lead 7-0. A two yard touchdown pass from Derek Anderson to Joe Newton gave the Beavers the lead. Arizona's defense was suffocating against the run as the Beavers had -11 yards in the first quarter, but 131 yards passing in the first quarter.

"The defense played well all day," said Stoops. "We had some good calls. The guys up front controlled the line of scrimmage. Overall, there were a lot of good plays on defense."

Oregon State would score on its next drive off a two yard run by Ryan Cole. Following the extra point, Oregon State took the lead 14-0 with 3:53 left in the first quarter.

The second quarter was extremely quiet as neither team would score again and Arizona went into the locker room trailing 14-0. Oregon State led the half with 199 total yards compared to Arizona's 92 through the half.

Following a strong defensive stand by Arizona, they received the ball at their own 18 yard line to start their first drive of the second half. However a fumble by Bell on the 23 yard line gave the ball back to Oregon State. The Beavers would score a few plays later off a 6 yard pass by Anderson to Anthony Wheat-Brown to make the score 21-0 following the successful extra point by Alexis Serna.

Arizona's next drive ended its 103 minute scoring draught as Arizona scored a touchdown on 12 plays moving the ball 77 yards over seven minutes. The touchdown was scored off a 27 yard pass from Richard Kovalcheck to Biren Ealy. Following Folk's successful extra point, the score was 21-7 in favor or Oregon State with 2:33 left in the third quarter.

Ealy had been quiet the past few weeks, but was injured for the first few games of the season. Ealy had four receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown.

"Biren was good," said Stoops. "To come back in the second half and see Biren step up was pleasing to me."

Arizona held Oregon State once again and forced a punt. However, Wilrey Fontenot was hit hard and fumbled the ball on the 15 yard line. Oregon State would score four plays later which made the score 28-7 with 14:52 left in the game.

On Arizona's next drive they were able to move the ball to the 2 yard line off a defensive pass interference penalty. They would score three plays later off a two yard run by Bell to make the score 28-14 with 9:18 left in the game.

Arizona threatened late in the game with a couple of long drives however was unable to produce points and the Oregon State Beavers went on to defeat Arizona 28-14.

Despite the loss, it was clear that Kovalcheck played quite well. With only one delay of game penalty, Kovalcheck was very good at finding receivers and his tight ends all over the field. Kovalcheck ended the game 19 of 38 with two interceptions for 235 yards and one touchdown. One of the two interceptions took place during Arizona's last second effort. In addition, Kovalcheck did a good job avoiding the sack with only two on the game.

"He (Richard Kovalcheck) threw the ball well tonight," said Stoops. "We have to continually have guys step up and help him though."

Now the team is looking forward to Washington next weekend. Washington is currently in last place in the Pac-10, Arizona is in ninth. The team's goal for the rest of the season is to not end the season in last place in the Pac-10.

"We've got a lot to play for next week not to finish last," said Stoops.

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