Second-half mistakes doom 'Cats.
At halftime, Arizona had the lead, 19-14, and the football to open the third quarter, but Wildcats coach Mike Stoops seemed to know that wouldn't be enough.
"I thought we played decent the first half, but they've been a second half team all along, and I knew, shoot ... you can slow 'em down, you're not going to stop 'em," Stoops said. "They put pressure on you every snap, and that's what you have to overcome when you play these guys."
Friday evening at Autzen Stadium, Oregon scored on five straight possessions to open the second half en route to a 48-29 victory, Arizona's third straight loss. The first Oregon TD in the second half was an 85-yard touchdown run by Josh Huff on a second-and-10 option pitch from quarterback Darron Thomas.
"The zone-read option, letting them out on second-and-10, was a huge play in the game," Stoops said.
"We tried to stay in it as long as we could. They put a lot of pressure on you in a lot of different ways with their offense, and we really couldn't handle it the second half. They played really well. ... They put a lot of pressure on your whole defense to play well."
That touchdown gave Oregon a 20-19 lead. "Speed," said Arizona nose tackle Lolomana Mikaele. "That guy's real fast. They're just real fast."
On their next possession, the Ducks drove 99 yards on 20 plays for another score and a 27-19 lead, a drive kept alive when a missed field goal by Rob Beard was erased because of an offside penalty against the Wildcats.
"The 99-yard drive was a stop, unfortunately," said Tim Kish, Arizona's co-defensive coordinator. "It was 18 plays and a missed field goal and then we have an off-side. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times there."
Stoops said the penalty "was costly. You can't make that mistake. That was disappointing, very disappointing. The guy wasn't even part of the rush. Just careless, and you can't be careless when you play a team like Oregon."
The Ducks had some new things for the Wildcats, but the key to the Oregon attack is that it's hard to stop what defenses know is coming.
"They tweak what they do week in and week out, but there's such a big picture that 11 guys have to be really understanding what's happening," Stoops said. "They get guys a little out of place and they take advantage of that. They run the same plays but they change the way they run them week in and week out.
"That's the creativity of it and that's the execution you get every time you play this team, and certainly their personnel make them a great football team, that's for sure."
Said Kish: "Their skill and their speed and their execution, they do things very well. There's a reason they're No. 1."
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|Title Annotation:||Football Oregon; Even after a five-point lead at halftime, Arizona unravels on defense and lets upset slip away|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Nov 27, 2010|
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