Arizona Wildcats Shock Oregon and the World.


Arizona Beats Oregon 31-24

Players of the Game: Scooby Wright, DE- 7 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery

Terris Jones-Grigsby, RB- 27 Carries for 115 Yards and 1 Touchdown, 4 Receptions for 95 Yards

The Arizona Wildcats stepped on the field in Eugene, Oregon Thursday night as 21-point underdogs. Never mind the fact that they had beaten the Ducks last year. Never mind the fact that they were undefeated going into this year. There was no way that this unranked Pac 12 team, which was a travesty to begin with, could beat the No. 2 team in the country.

Rich Rodriguez has turned the Wildcats into a national power. Two weeks ago, we questioned if this team was good at all after needing a Hail Mary to beat Cal. Now, at 5-0, they stand as one of two undefeated teams in the Pac 12, along with UCLA.

This team didn’t just win the game with offense. The defense, after getting progressively worse each week, walked in and held that amazing Oregon offense to just 24 points. Was that an SEC defense out there? Nope. It was just a strong front four that gave Mariota fits all night.

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  • It’s easy to judge in hindsight, but we all missed the boat on this one. It was ridiculous to allow an undefeated team be a 21-point underdog to a team it had just beaten the previous year. In his third year, Rodriguez had clearly shown that the pieces were in place for marked improvement. But after the 4-0 start we all just decided to dismiss the team and consider the Wildcats a joke.

    And on Thursday night, on the road, against a Top 5 team, they made jokes of all of us.

    For the second straight year, the Wildcats pulled off the win. Yes, they got help on their last drive due to a dumb personal foul penalty against the Ducks. But that didn’t force Mariota to fumble the ball on the next drive. Oregon still had its chances. And Arizona still won.

    Big Players Step Up

    Not only did Arizona pull of the win and launch itself into the discussion for a Pac 12 title and possibly a shot at the college football playoff, but they showed they have a few possible Heisman candidates as well.

    Going into the game, Anu Solomon, Nick Wilson, and Cayleb Jones all looked as if they could be the best QB-RB-WR trio in all of college football. The Terris Jones-Grigsby came in and looked like the best offensive player on the entire team. With 115 rushing yards and 95 receiving yards, Jones-Grigsby came up huge, but nothing was more impressive than on the final drive. On 3rd and 5, Jones-Grigsby appeared to be stopped short of the first down, but then he pounded forward for 2 extra yards to make sure the Wildcats got the first down to run out the clock.

    But before Jones-Grigsby came Scooby Wright. He was part of a defensive line that got pressure on Mariota all night. The defensive end who wasn’t even offered a scholarship from San Diego State had 7 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. What matters, though, is how he got those latter three stats. They all came on one play.

    With Oregon in possession and down by a touchdown, Wright came around the edge and sacked Mariota as he was rolling out, ripping the ball out of his hands as they went down together. That took guts and toughness. Not bad for a 2-star recruit. He stands as the leader of this group of over-achievers right now, and it’s time to give them all some respect.

    Oregon in Trouble

    Oregon still has everything in front of it if the College Football Playoff is the goal. The Ducks can still win out, which would win the Pac-12 North, and then win the Pac-12 Championship. A 1-loss Pac-12 champion is likely going, so the Ducks still control their own destiny.

    But Oregon did what Oregon does in what seems like every year. It always puts up basketball scores and draws respect from the college football world in the process, but true to what could happen in a complex offense, the Ducks had a mistake-filled game that involved critical fumbles and missed assignments by the offensive line all night.

    While they do have lots of things to get corrected, the biggest story for this team is that the offense is too hard to run for it to run the table and go undefeated an entire season. That finesse offense always gets hit hard against physical teams, and it happened again Thursday night.

    Of course, nobody considered Arizona’s defense physical before Thursday, but the defensive line certainly proved it was Thursday.