Part 2, deja vu, whatever you call it, the Arizona Wildcats showed nothing is different when they played the Oklahoma State Cowboys for the second time in three games. The Wildcats lost 37-14 in what was, for the most part, a blowout.
The last time the Wildcats had that winning feeling? Oct. 30, 2010, against UCLA. Yeah, that's 10 months ago.
The No. 9 Cowboys (2-0) jumped ahead 21-0 with 13 minutes to play in the second quarter, WR Justin Blackmon and quarterback Brandon Weeden torched the Wildcats defense, and the UA run game did nothing to help quarterback Nick Foles' 398 yards through the air.
Weeden threw for an Oklahoma State record 42 completions and 397 of his own yards with Blackmon catching the ball 12 times for 128 yards. Meanwhile, Pokey running back Joseph Randle ran for 121 yards, 70 more than the Wildcats team combined for. And 29 of Arizona's total 51 rush yards came from freshman back Ka'Deem Carey; in garbage minutes, nonetheless.
The end of the game was most questionable for UA. Foles' knee got twisted by a low hit and only 52 seconds remaining in the game. He remained in the game, but was visibly limping.
Overall, there was little to be excited about for Arizona (1-1) aside from the obvious passing attack. Foles earned chunks of yardage by going deep, the second time for a 54-yard touchdown to Dan Buckner, who led UA with 142 yards on 10 catches. Without star receiver Juron Criner, it was Austin Hill, a freshman, who shined from the start. Aside from a critical fumble that stopped the threatening Wildcats from scoring in the first half, Hill caught eight balls for 128 yards.
Disappointing for Wildcat fans was the defense, who had a chip on their shoulder -- or said they did -- because of what happened at the Alamo Bowl. They continually got beat to the outside on short throws (sound familiar?) to the wideouts, and while they didn't get burned downfield for scores, it didn't matter.
Shaquille Richardson, matched against Blackmon, got picked upon for the second week in a row. From eight yards out of the endzone, the Pokies loaded the left side of the field with Richardson isolated on the right side -- fade route, pass, easy touchdown for Oklahoma State, putting the score at 27-7 near the end of the third quarter.
So now, the Wildcats are at square one. Their offseason talk of being a family and executing can be in question, but it wasn't even necessarily the reason for the loss. Simply put, the talent level and athleticism of the Wildcats may now be in question. As much as Randle ran over and through the linebacking crew and defensive line -- OSU had a 6.4 rush average to UA's 2.0 -- and as much as the corners got picked upon, the most physical player from this point of view seemed to be (gulp) the true freshman, Carey.
Granted, on offense, Arizona's time of possession was handled well, surprisingly. Arizona held the ball only three minutes less than the Cowboys. However, I guess the run game needs more than just run to be effective; they need yards.
Can the presence of Carey ignite the offense in future games? Will the coaches realize they need a run game? And how does the defense rebound?
Questions, questions. Unfortunately, this team looked like the same one-dimensional, athletically deficient squad of last year. Or is it about coaching, execution and the like? It's hard to say, but let's just guess that this season could become a long one, and quickly.
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