No. 3 Oregon destroys Arizona

BY foxsports • September 22, 2012

Midway through the third quarter after another drive had stalled, Arizona quarterback Matt Scott came off the field shaking his head.

Coach Rich Rodriguez patted him on the back but the gesture did little to console Scott, who stood on the sidelines with his arms folded across his chest.

It was a frustrating Saturday night for Scott, who couldn't get the No. 22 Wildcats into the endzone in a 49-0 loss to No. 3 Oregon.

Scott completed 22 of 44 passes for 210 yards, but he was intercepted three times, including one that Oregon's Ifo Ekpre-Olomu ran back 54 yards for a touchdown. Arizona (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) failed to score despite six trips to the red zone.

To make matters worse, Rodriguez revealed that Scott hurt his hip early in the game but fought through it.

''He took a good shot on his hip and he went out. He has a lot of courage and came back and battled. I give him a lot of credit,'' Rodriguez said. ''Was he as sharp as in other games? No. But I think they (the Ducks) have something to do with that.''

Much had been made about the meeting between the quick-striking Ducks under Chip Kelly and Arizona's spread offense under no-huddle, up-tempo pioneer Rodriguez. Oregon went into it the averaging 54 points per game, while Arizona wasn't far behind at a little more than 46 points.

Oregon didn't find its stride until the second half - and Arizona never did - and the Ducks (4-0, 1-0) got their seventh straight conference-opening victory.

Oregon redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns, including a 55-yard scoring pass to freshman Bralon Addison late in the third quarter.

The game got off to a sloppy start as Oregon failed on fourth down and each team turned the ball over before Mariota found Daryle Hawkins with a 17-yard touchdown pass midway through the first quarter.

Arizona got as close as the 2-yard line on the next series, but couldn't punch it in and turned the ball over on downs. The Wildcats' struggles continued when John Bonano's 31-yard field goal was blocked early in the second quarter.

Rob Beard hit a 27-yard field goal to increase Oregon's advantage to 10-0. It was the Ducks' first FG of the season. Beard added a 41-yarder late in the first half to make it 13-0 at the break.

Oregon's hybrid 3-4 defense under longtime coordinator Nick Aliotti held the Wildcats to 141 yards in total offense in the first 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Arizona's new 3-3-5 defense kept the normally prolific Ducks from piling on points.

But then the Ducks started rolling. De'Anthony Thomas returned Arizona's third-straight punt 38 yards, setting up a 35-yard pass to Colt Lyerla, who finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run. The drive took just three plays and 29 seconds.

Kiko Alonso intercepted Scott, leading to Mariota's long TD pass to Addison, before Ekpre-Olomu ran his interception back to make it 35-0.

Bryan Bennett added an 8-yard scoring run with 4:02 left in the game before Troy Hill intercepted Scott's backup, B.J. Denker, for a 29-yeard touchdown and the final margin.

Arizona opened coach Rodriguez's tenure with a victory over Toledo before upsetting then-No. 18 Oklahoma State 59-38 in their second game. Last weekend in a 56-0 win over South Carolina State, the Wildcats ran a school-record 102 offensive plays.

The Wildcats were the first big test for Oregon, which opened the season with victories over Arkansas State, Fresno State and lower-division Tennessee Tech.

Before this season, Arizona hadn't been ranked in the AP Top 25 since November 2010, when the No. 20 Wildcats were knocked out with a 48-29 loss to the then-No. 1 Ducks.

Last season, Oregon defeated Arizona 56-31 in Tucson.

Oregon's last shutout of Arizona came in 1964, when the Ducks won 21-0 at Hayward Field in Eugene.