There was no redemption for the Oregon Ducks.
The Arizona Wildcats (5-0, 2-0), who thumped the ‘Quack Attack’ 42-16 last year in Tucson, upset the nation’s 2nd-ranked team 31-24 before a stunned sold-out crowd at Autzen Stadium in Eugene Thursday night. The Ducks never found their sync offensively and failed to make key defensive stops throughout the course of the game allowing nearly 500 yards (495) to Anu Solomon and Rich Rodriguez’s offense.
Here are five things we learned in the victory as the Wildcats knocked off a top 10 team for the seventh time in nine years.
1. Duck Die-Nasty…what else can you say about Rich Rodriguez? The guy who was run off by Michigan is the talk of Tucson right now. Zona’s spread offense kept the Ducks off-balance, effectively mixing the run (208 yards) and the pass (287) vaulting the ‘Cats into the Top 25 next week and more importantly, the thick of a suddenly wide open Pac-12 South. The win also won’t hurt Coach Rod and his staff on the recruiting trail this fall. “I’m really proud of our players…we had great practices [this week]…they really played hard,” he said after the game. Arizona held a 33:32-26:26 time of possession edge. UofA is 5-0 for the first time since 1998.
2. Scooby Snack…sophomore Scooby Wright was just one of the Wildcats’ defensive stars but nobody made a bigger play, stripping Heisman Trophy hopeful Marcus Mariota and pouncing on the fumble with just over two minutes to play to secure the huge upset. “We were just trying to get after the quarterback and play solid defense,” he told ESPN after the game. The sophomore from southern California recorded seven tackles and a sack in the stunner.
3. Desert Swarm 2.0…okay not exactly but don’t try telling Oregon who saw their playoff dreams dashed by a team the “experts” believed were 24 points their inferior. They held Mariota to a pedestrian 276 passing yards and two touchdowns and the ‘Cats’ front feasted on UO’s depleted and inexperienced offensive line sacking him a handful times and providing near-constant pressure.
4. In the Nick of Time…freshman running back Nick Wilson continues to step out of Ka’Deem Carey’s long shadow and build his own legacy in the Old Pueblo. The 5’10, 200-pounder from Fresno who entered the game with nearly 500 yards rushing in just four games was a force on the ground with 13 carries for 92 yards (7.1 per attempt) and two touchdowns, as well as in the passing attack reeling in a 34-yard score in the third quarter. The emergence of Wilson has kept opposing defenses honest and opened up the passing game for Anu Solomon and a host of extremely talented wide receivers. Terris Jones-Grigsby led the ‘Cats with a game-high 115 yards and a touchdown.
5. Allen Town…following an untimely unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by UofA’s Jourdon Grandon on third down deep in Arizona territory Mariota connected with former Brophy Bronco star Devon Allen for a six-yard touchdown in the back corner of the end zone. It was the NCAA 110 meter hurdles champion’s fifth touchdown catch in five games. The redshirt freshman wide receiver finished with five catches for 78 yards.