Wildcat Country was riding high in the beginning of the week, being ranked #22 in the nation, coming off a shutout win at home. Everyone seemed to think it was duck hunting season as the Wildcats were set to take on the then #4 Oregon Ducks in Eugene (now #2). All of a sudden U of A was all over ESPN Gameday Saturday morning, showing coach Rich Rodriguez at practice and to expect a good primetime game between Arizona and Oregon. All of the analysts predicted the game to be a shootout between the two schools with scores combining to be in the 80’s.
The first quarter started with Oregon receiving the ball looking to show off their offense. Arizona fans were happy after seeing it’s defense hold arguably the top offense in the country on its first drive to a turn over on downs. What do the Wildcats do on offense? botch a field goal. The Wildcats could easily forget about the missed field goal since the next offensive possession came quickly as Marquis Flowers popped the Oregon QB to force a fumble and the Cats recovered it on the Oregon’s 11 yard line. Instead, Senior Matt Scott throws an interception on a miss-communication with a receiver. Oregon turned the turnover into a touchdown and were up early 7-0. On the next drive the Wildcat offense drives down the field, but gets stopped short on the 2 yard line on 4th and goal.
The Second quarter started off strong for the Cats defense as Tucson native Jake Fischer recovered a fumble forced by another Tucson native Jared Tevis on “The Black Mamba” (De’Anthony Thomas). Three plays later John Banano gets his field goal blocked and things just don’t seem to be falling the Wildcats way once they were in Duck’s territory. The Ducks got two field goals to end the quarter. Cats fans were optimistic about the second half as the defense was playing well holding a powerful offense to just 13 points in a half of play. The second half got off to a slow start as both teams went on scoreless drives before De’Anthony Thomas had a big punt return for over 30 yards; setting up an Oregon tuchdown and two-point conversion to go up 21 points on the Cats. Jonathan McKnight gave some life to the Cats as he got his third interception on the year getting the Cats into Oregon territory. Going for it on fourth down Matt Scott throws another interception, and the Ducks struck quickly with a big 55 yard passing touchdown going up 28-0. The fourth quarter didn’t start off any better for the struggling Cats as the Ducks returned an interception half the field for a touchdown and put the Cats to sleep. The Ducks went on to quack and smack the Cats around leaving them meowing in pain 49-0.
Coming into the year no one expected much from the Cats, but after winning their first three games the Cats were in the top 25 and seemed to be making some noise. Yeah they were overachieving, but that didn’t matter to the Cats; ride the train until it stops, right? Well the Ducks ran the Cats train off the tracks and stopped it quickly. Hopefully the Cats can rebound against a very sound Oregon State team who upset UCLA at home last weekend and held Wisconsin to 7 points a few weeks. The coaches are looking to give the Cats some motivation as they are set to wear the newly released Copper helmets on Saturday.