College football tends to be full of surprises this time of year, and Saturday at Arizona Stadium was no exception.
A week after a devastating 24-17 home to the Washington State Cougars in a game they were supposed to win, the Arizona Wildcats rebounded by taking down the No. 5-ranked Oregon Ducks in blowout fashion, by a final of 42-16.
Scooby Wright picked off the first play from scrimmage, Jeff Casteel’s unit put forth its most complete performance of the season (forced three turnovers and allowed one offensive play of 30 yards), junior halfback Ka’Deem Carey rushed his way into the record books (program-high 48 carries for 206 yards and four touchdowns) and senior quarterback B.J. Denker (178 passing yards and two touchdowns to go along with 102 rushing yards) thoroughly outplayed Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariotta, as the Wildcats pulled off their first upset of a top-5 team since Nov. 2007 — ironically against Oregon.
With his two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter,
Carey passed Art Luppino for the most touchdowns (49) in school history. Carey, who now has 3,913 rushing yards, also broke Trung Candidate’s career rushing record in the second half.
In his final home game, senior wideout Terrence Miller caught a season-high nine passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.
With the game still very much in the balance late in the second quarter, UA preserved its 21-9 lead by forcing a fumble of Mariotta on a fourth and two run.
Shaquille Richardson’s acrobatics set up the Wildcats’ first interception of the afternoon. And the senior capped off UA’s impressive defensive effort with a pick of his own with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter.
Nothing. Despite coming off a two-game home losing streak, Rich Rodriguez’s squad responded with arguably the most impressive conference win by any team this season.
Outside of the opening few minutes, the 60-minute contest was never close. UA looked like the top-5 team, completely outplaying Oregon on both sides of the football.
If there was a bad, it’s that with their upset victory, the Wildcats may have actually helped their rivals up north, the Arizona State Sun Devils. If ASU wins next weekend, it will not only play in the Pac-12 title game on Dec. 7, it’ll host it in Tempe.
Arizona looks to improve its bowl stock with a win in the Territorial Cup over ASU at 7:30 p.m. MST. If the Sun Devils fail to win Saturday night, UA could potentially play spoiler, because with a victory over their in-state rivals, the Wildcats would ruin the Sun Devils’ chances of hosting the Pac-12 Championship Game. UA hasn’t lost at Sun Devil Stadium since Dec. 2007.