It wasn’t a rallying cry, really. More like a reminder.
As Oklahoma State took a two-score lead early Saturday, Arizona Wildcats fans almost certainly had déjà vu. After all, remember the Alamo Bowl?
Thirty unanswered points and six consecutive defensive stops, the Wildcats faithful had a reason to root for a blowout: Remember the Alamo Bowl!
Matt Scott threw for 320 yards and two scores and Ka’Deem Carey scored four touchdowns, three of them on the ground, as the UA stunned the 18th-ranked Cowboys 59-38 tonight. The victory, which came in front of 45,602 fans at Arizona Stadium, improved to the UA to 2-0 this season and positioned them nicely for a national ranking come Monday. With Div. I-AA South Carolina State coming to Tucson next week, it’s possible that the UA can start 3-0 for just the second time in a decade.
Tonight's win was as unprecedented as it was unexpected. Oklahoma State trounced the UA in the teams’ last two meetings, the 2010 Alamo Bowl and last September’s game in Stillwater, Okla., by a combined score of 73-24. The Wildcats last defeated OSU 70 years ago, in 1942. Rodriguez hadn’t defeated a team ranked in the top-20 nationally since 2007, his final season at West Virginia.
The first significant victory of the Rodriguez era was, for 3 ½ quarters, an offensive showcase between two of the nation’s most high-octane attacks.
When Oklahoma State finally flinched, Jonathan McKnight jumped.
The UA cornerback intercepted Wes Lunt’s pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, extending the Wildcats’ lead and stealing the momentum that OSU worked all half to build. Scott’s 2-point conversion pass to Taimi Tutoi was good, extending the UA’s lead to 45-31 with 10 minutes 24 seconds remaining. UA and OSU then traded punts before the Wildcats put the game away. Safety Jared Tevis intercepted Lunt’s pass with 6:09 remaining. When Ka’Deem Carey turned a 25-yard dash into a touchdown, the rout was on.
Lunt completed 34 of 55 passes for 392 yards, and found receiver Tracy Moore for all four of his passing touchdowns. But the Cowboys’ freshman quarterback was intercepted three times, none bigger than the mistake he made to McKnight. The Wildcats’ defense also forced a fumble, giving the UA a 4-0 edge on takeaways. It was, in retrospect, the difference in the game.
OSU finished with 636 yards of total offense, 132 more than Arizona’s 504.
But the Wildcats made few, if any, mistakes — and scored when it mattered. Arizona’s 59 points were the most scored since its 2008 win over Washington.
The strong finish made up for a horrendous start.
The Cowboys scored touchdowns on their first two possessions.
The momentum shifted on Arizona’s second drive drive, when OSU was called for two personal foul penalties on the same play, moving the Wildcats ahead 30 yards and setting up a score. Scott found Morrison, who dropped a sure touchdown pass last week, for the UA’s first score. Wildcats linebacker Jake Fischer forced and recovered a fumble on OSU’s next possession, setting up John Bonano’s field goal.
The Wildcats’ beleaguered field goal kicker was stellar, a week after missing two short field goals in Arizona’s 24-17, overtime win over Toledo — including one that would have won the game in overtime. Bonano’s was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals and connected on all six of his PAT attempts. The Wildcats went for 2 following McKnight’s pick-six; Scott found Taimi Tutogi for the conversion, extending Arizona’s lead to 14 points.
1:57 Arizona rushes for a touchdown, extra point is good. Arizona 59-Oklahoma State, 38.
2:58 Oklahoma State completes pass for a touchdown, extra point is good. Arizona 52, Oklahoma State 38.
4:35 Arizona rushes for a touchdown, extra point is good. Arizona 52, Oklahoma State 31.
10:24 Arizona interception return for touchdown; 2 point conversion pass good. Arizona leads Oklahoma State 45-31.
The Arizona Wildcats are 15 minutes away from the first significant win of the Rich Rodriguez era.
Now, they just need to hold on.
Matt Scott ran for an 8-yard touchdown, and Ka’Deem Carey plunged in his second score of the game during a frenetic third quarter. As the fourth quarter starts, Arizona leads No. 18 Oklahoma State 37-31 at Arizona Stadium.
Scott’s run capped a 5-play, 75-yard drive and provided the UA with some extra breathing room in the third quarter. The teams started the second half by trading scores.
Arizona made it 30-14 with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended when Scott found Carey for a 15-yard touchdown pass. OSU pulled to within 9 points on its next drive, a 75-yard march that ended with Lunt’s third touchdown pass to Moore, a 9-yarder.
Arizona scored 23 consecutive points to finish the first half, a surge that negated a horrendous start.
They can thank, of all people, John Bonano. The placekicker connected on all three of his first-half field goal attempts, and was a perfect 2-for-2 on PATs. Bonano missed two field goals, including a potential game-winner in regulation, in last week’s 24-17 overtime win over Toledo.
At first, it looked as if the Wildcats’ third game against OSU in as many years would play out just like the first two — with plenty of Cowboys offense and a fruitless chase to match it. Quarterback Wes Lunt found wide receiver Tracy Moore for touchdowns on the Cowboys’ first two possessions: Their 9-yard pass made it 7-0 OSU just 1 minute 57 seconds into the game, and a 30-yard score gave the visitors a 14-0 advantage midway through the third quarter.
The momentum shifted on Arizona’s next drive, when OSU was called for two personal foul penalties on the same play, moving the Wildcats ahead 30 yards and setting up a score. Scott found Morrison, who dropped a sure touchdown pass last week, for the UA’s first score. Wildcats linebacker Jake Fischer forced and recovered a fumble on OSU’s next possession, setting up Bonano’s field goal. The kick was redemption of sorts for Bonano, who missed two kicks from similar distances — 24 and 25 yards — in last week’s game.