Matt Scott limped back on to the Arizona Stadium turf with 1 minute remaining in Saturday's game, his adrenalin pumping. His injured ankle, surely, throbbed. His hip, still bruised after taking a hit last week was covered by a pad and a bandage underneath his navy pants.
Scott's center, Addison Bachman, was new, a replacement for injured starter Kyle Quinn. His running back, Ka'Deem Carey, was gassed from a 115-yard, two-touchdown performance.
The Arizona Wildcats lined up in a five-wide-receiver set. If they were going to pull off the biggest comeback of their young season, it'd have to be with their quarterback leading the way.
Scott threw incomplete on his first two attempts, then hit Carey streaking down the sideline. Then, reality hit. Oregon State's Rashaad Reynolds intercepted Scott at midfield, sealing a victory that at once seemed assured. Everything else, well, remains uncertain.
Sean Mannion found Connor Hamlett for a 10-yard touchdown with 1 minute, 9 seconds remaining and No. 18 Oregon State emerged with a 38-35 win over the UA Saturday at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats (3-2 overall, 0-2 Pac-12) took their shot late, but couldn't deliver.
"We had a chance to win or tie, and we didn't execute," coach Rich Rodriguez said. "It's never one play that beats you. We saw the same thing y'all did: Lots of completed passes. Our defense hung in there. They tried the best they could."
Still, "losing is losing," Rodriguez said.
And the Wildcats have done a lot of losing against OSU in recent years.
Saturday's victory in front of 44,153 fans was OSU's sixth in a row at Arizona Stadium, and their 12th in 14 tries. Arizona last defeated the Beavers (3-0, 2-0) in Tucson 15 years ago.
OSU persevered even as Arizona, sporting copper helmets for the first time, rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit; Mannion brought the team back from deficits of 28-24 and 35-31 in the second half alone. His final drive was a masterpiece: OSU went 75 yards in 10 plays on a drive that took 4:25 - practically ages in an era of no-huddle spread football. Mannion completed 29 of 45 passes for 433 yards and three touchdowns. He did not turn the ball over.
The Beavers outgained Arizona 613 yards to 545.
But the final score - and the frenetic finish - was misleading. Saturday's game was a slugfest, and the Wildcats left with the scars to show it. "Bandit" safety Jared Tevis left the game after suffering an ankle injury in the first half, and Quinn hurt his leg as Arizona mounted its rally in the third quarter.
Scott, who was limited last week because of a bruised hip, suffered a sprained ankle in the third quarter. He missed one play, then returned to finish the drive.
"He didn't want to come off," wide receiver Dan Buckner said of Scott. "He's a leader."
The pick ended a stellar night for Scott, who threw for a career-high 403 yards and three touchdowns on 31 of 53 passing. He was intercepted twice. The Cats' quarterback also rushed 5 times for 29 yards.
In the end, however, Mannion was just a bit better.
Oregon State took a 31-28 lead with 8:35 remaining in the game, when Markus Wheaton caught a 19-yard pass from Mannion. The score came after a maddening stretch of plays for the Wildcats' defense: Safety Jourdon Grandon was assessed personal foul penalties on back-to-back plays, one for a late hit and the other for a face mask, and the Beavers moved to Arizona's 30. They picked up a first down on a measurement near the 20, and scored one play later. Grandon was a few steps behind the scoring play.
The Wildcats committed a handful of silly penalties Saturday.
Jonathan McKnight was flagged for running into the kicker after OSU's Trevor Romaine pushed a field goal attempt wide right in the first quarter, extending the Beavers' drive. Three plays later, Mannion found Wheaton on a crossing route, giving the Beavers a 7-0 lead. It was 17-0 when, in the second quarter, the Wildcats snapped a shameful scoreless streak and climbed back into the game.
Carey's 1-yard run, upheld by video review, capped a 9-play, 85-yard drive. The Wildcats' score was their first in 93 minutes dating back to their Week 3 win over South Carolina State. Oregon blanked the UA 49-0 a week ago, and the Beavers limited Arizona to punts and a missed field goal until the second quarter score.
Buckner said the team needed to play better in the first half.
"The game is 60 minutes," he said. "We played hard, but we have to play a complete game to beat a team like them."
• What: Arizona at No. 8 Stanford
• When: Noon Saturday
• TV: Ch 11
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM