Rich Rodriguez said before the season that his team couldn't make mistakes. And we all knew the Arizona Wildcats couldn't get hit with the injury bug.
Both of those things came to a head tonight, and especially with UA not atop its game early, it spelled doom.
Matt Scott's hesitant play that appeared to be a lingering symptom from last week came back late to haunt Arizona, and a Jared Tevis injury was an indirect factor in a single touchdown that gave the Oregon State Beavers a 38-35 lead that would hold for the win.
Scott ended with 403 yards on 31-of-54 completions with three touchdowns and two interceptions (one of which wasn't his fault). His stat-line looked strong, but some early throws that he pulled back hinted that he wasn't too sure of pulling the trigger.
When he finally had to late in the game, it was game over.
Oregon State jumped on top 17-0 in the first half as Arizona's defense failed to build upon the momentum in the Oregon game. The Wildcats allowed big chunks of yardage in the between-the-tackles run game and by Sean Mannion dropping back and letting speeding receivers like Wheaton stride past UA's cornerbacks.
Mannion finished with 433 passing yards and three touchdowns, and he proved his improvement from last season was no exaggeration. The OSU run game also cut up Arizona's defense with Storm Woods taking 29 totes for 161 yards.
UA changed the momentum in the game by scoring 3:29 before halftime to finish off a nine-play, 85-yard drive capped by a Carey 1-yard touchdown leap that only crossed the goal line as his failed leap gave him enough time to stretch the ball over the white line as he fell from the peak of the jump.
The Wildcats then used luck to avoid an Oregon State field goal make before the half to find themselves down only 17-7 going into the third.
Adjustments were the key for the Wildcats in the second half. The offense came out swinging, finishing a 91-yard drive in the first four minutes to cut the lead to only three points. Carey finished off that possession with a 24-yard scoot, finishing by pushing defenders backward with his back to the end zone.
And Saturday was perhaps the biggest game of Carey's career. He was utilized in multiple ways against the Beavers' stout run defense, rushing 17 times for 115 yards but also catching four balls for 68 yards, the final catch giving UA a huge first down on the 3rd-and-long before Scott's game-ending turnover.
Oregon State responded with a touchdown drive of its own, and then came what might've been the connection of the night. Scott found Buckner for a 16-yard touchdown pass on a fade to the back left corner of the end zone to put UA up 28-24. Buckner ended with six catches for 119 yards and a touchdown, and Austin Hill scored two touchdowns and led the team with eight grabs for 74 yards.
But on the next offensive possession, Scott threw an interception on his second pass that was tipped by Richard Morrison. The Beavers took advantage with Mannion finding Wheaton for a 20-yard catch on the next OSU touch.
The word gutsy reared its head again for the Wildcats, though only for a bit.
Scott, visibly limping on the sideline, led a charge capped by a 7-yard bullet to Hill to give Arizona a 35-31 lead with 5:34 to play.
But the injury to Tevis reared its head late, and it was the Beavers showing guts with a refusal to let a slip of a 17-0 lead weigh on their minds. A prolonged Beavers' drive that began on the Oregon State 25 ended with tight end Connor Hamlett catching a 9-yard touchdown on a stretch when bandit replacement Patrick Onwuasor was slow to pick him up in coverage. Onwuasor played well, but it turned into a "what-if" moment. The slow reaction by the freshman could've been prevented if Tevis were in -- Tevis injured his ankle by moving into coverage on a similar red zone play on the left side -- but that is debatable.
And Scott's hesitant play finally did the Wildcats in. A stare-down on a drive that began with 1:09 left in the game got picked off when he forced it, and that was that.
Oregon State is now a perfect 3-0, and Arizona was left licking the wounds of two losses by way of very different situations.