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 later, 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 Saturday. 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 Division 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.

"It took every guy on our team to win this game," said safety Jared Tevis, who had two of the Wildcats' three interceptions. "It was a total team effort, and it feels amazing. I can't describe how happy I am."

Saturday'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 twin losses were two of the worst of the Mike Stoops era.

The Wildcats last defeated OSU 70 years ago, in 1942.

The first significant victory of the Rich Rodriguez era was, for 3 1/2 quarters, an offensive showcase between two of the nation's most high-octane attacks.

Rodriguez joked that Saturday's win was "my best at Arizona."

The tone was set Friday night when Rodriguez talked to his team about being uncomfortable in big situations.

"I'm comfortable being uncomfortable," Rodriguez said. "And that's good because I was uncomfortable all night."

When Oklahoma State (1-1) 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 Tutogi 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 (2-0) put the game away. 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 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 possession, 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 Richard 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 a John Bonano 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 regulation. Bonano was a perfect 3 for 3 on field goals and connected on all six of his PAT attempts.

Scott completed 28 of 41 passes for 320 yards and two scores, and ran 19 times for 55 yards. Receiver Austin Hill caught five passes for a game-high 124 yards.

Up next

• What: South Carolina State at Arizona

• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

• TV: Pac-12 Arizona: Comcast (Ch 103); Cox (Ch 75); Dish Network (Ch 445)

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Sp)

The sports editor of the Arizona Daily Star.