Desert Swarm: No. 6 Oregon, No. 7 Utah face final road tests

Oregon's Juwan Johnson, right, pulls down a Justin Herbert pass on his way to a touchdown ahead of Arizona's Christian Roland-Wallace, left, during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Eugene, Ore.

The Arizona Wildcats lost to No. 6 Oregon 34-6 on Saturday night at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Here are some pertinent notes, quotes and statistics:

NOTES

* The defeat was Arizona’s fifth in a row. It’s the Wildcats’ longest in-season skid since they lost eight straight in 2016. Arizona lost five consecutive games bridging the 2017 and ’18 seasons.

* Arizona’s 240 yards were its lost total of the season and marked the first time the Wildcats had been held under 300 since Oct. 6 of last year against Cal. Arizona hadn’t been held under 250 yards since the Dec. 5, 2014, Pac-12 Championship Game against Oregon.

* Arizona failed to score a touchdown for the first time since a 49-3 loss to Washington on Oct. 31, 2015 – a span of 50 games. Oregon has held the opposition to fewer than 10 points six times this season, the first time the Ducks have done that since 1960.

* The Wildcats fell to 9-13 overall under second-year coach Kevin Sumlin. They are 2-8 on the road.

* Oregon clinched the Pac-12 North title for the first time since 2014, is the first Pac-12 team to start 7-0 in league play since Stanford in 2015 and improved to 12-1 at home under Mario Cristobal.

* The Arizona defense tallied seven tackles for losses, setting a season-high mark. Their previous best was five against NAU, Texas Tech and UCLA. The Wildcats also matched their season high with three sacks.

* Redshirt-junior tailback J.J. Taylor rushed for 74 yards, giving him 3,182 for his career and moving him into fifth place on Arizona’s all-time rushing list. Taylor led the Wildcats in rushing attempts (17), rushing yards (74), receptions (six) and receiving yards (55) for the second consecutive game.

* Taylor also notched a 47-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, the longest kickoff return by an Arizona player this season.

* Junior safety Scottie Young Jr.’s interception in the third quarter was his first of the season and the fifth of his career. It was the first pick by a Wildcats since Sept. 28 vs. UCLA.

* Senior Jace Whittaker’s sack in the second quarter was the first of his career and the first by a UA defensive back this season.

QUOTES

Sumlin on rotating QBs Grant Gunnell and Khalil Tate: “Performance in practice was going to decide who was going to start the game. Because we got behind, I think it put pressure on that offensive line in a dropback game. Khalil came in and was able to avoid a little bit more and move around and run. It took a little pressure off and got us on the board. That’s the way that decision was made.”

Sumlin on his message to the team after the game: “We’ve got to heal up. This is a learning experience for a bunch of guys that really hadn’t played a lot in their career. We have to stay together as a team. We’ve got some things we can clean up. Too many penalties and things like that from inexperienced players. We didn’t turn the ball over, which was maybe the only positive. I thought our guys kept playing hard all the way to the end.”

Young on his interception of Justin Herbert, who had thrown only two picks entering Saturday: “I was just trying to do my job. He started to scramble. You have to either find an open man or try to cover up some space and take away windows from him. He threw the ball, and I broke on it. It got tipped up in the air, and I was just flying around trying to make plays.”

Young on facing Herbert: “Justin is a really smart player and makes good decisions with the ball. He doesn’t give the ball away, and he doesn’t make too many mistakes, so you have to try to force him to make mistakes and try not to give him easy throws. Make everything difficult for him. Make him think a little bit and make him work harder than he has to. But that’s a difficult thing. He’s a veteran quarterback.”

Cristobal on his team’s performance: "The biggest goal of the week was to be 1-0. It just also happens to coincide with a Pac-12 North title. But that being said, the best part about it, our guys — and this sounds like a broken record every time I come here and see you after a game — our guys feel like we still haven't played our best football. And that's awesome to hear."

Cristobal on the trick play that produced a touchdown in the second quarter: "We felt we could capture the eyes of the secondary, catch them maybe losing sight of their luggage, and get behind them. Tremendous job of executing it — protection, great job by Juwan Johnson and Justin Herbert, the throw itself, the route, the catch — everything was just executed at a really high level."

STATS

* Oregon had 21 first downs; Arizona had 18

* Oregon had 471 yards and averaged 7.0 yards per play; Arizona had 240 yards and averaged 3.5.

* Arizona had eight penalties for 45 yards; Oregon had five for 63.

* Arizona had a net punting average of 31.5 yards; Oregon’s was 40.0.

* Oregon possessed the ball for 32 minutes, 14 seconds; Arizona had it for 27:46.

* Oregon converted 8 of 15 third downs; Arizona converted 5 of 17.

* Oregon had six sacks; Arizona had three.

* Oregon’s average starting field position was its 32-yard line; Arizona’s was its 27.

* Gunnell completed 10 of 14 passes for 82 yards.

* Tate completed 7 of 16 passes for 50 yards.

* Herbert completed 20 of 28 passes for 333 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.

* Oregon’s Johnson had five catches for a game-high 93 yards and a touchdown.

* Oregon’s Johnny Johnson III had four catches for 89 yards and a score.

* Young had a team-high eight tackles, including one for a loss.

* Arizona’s Trevon Mason, Tony Fields II and Colin Schooler each had six tackles.

* Oregon’s Troy Dye had eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

Contact sports reporter Michael Lev at 573-4148 or mlev@tucson.com. On Twitter @michaeljlev 

Reporter

Michael is an award-winning journalist who has been covering sports professionally since the early '90s. He started at the Star in 2015 after spending 15 years at The Orange County Register. Michael is a graduate of Northwestern University.