Facing another 2-8 team, it seemed like Saturday would be an opportune time for the Arizona Wildcats to pick up their first Pac-12 win of the season, but instead it was more of the same — the Wildcats ( were routed by the Oregon State Beavers 42-17 in Corvallis.
Marcus McMaryion threw for 265 yards and five touchdowns, and Ryan Nall rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown as the Beavers cruised to victory.
Behind two early touchdown passes from McMaryion, the Beavers jumped out to a 14-0 lead with 1:33 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats were able to cut it to 14-7 with 9:45 left in the second quarter, though, after Brandon Dawkins rolled to his right and found Nate Phillips for a 10-yard touchdown.
But Oregon State responded with a 9-play, 96-yard touchdown drive to extend its lead to 21-7 late in the second quarter.
Dawkins would lead the Wildcats down the field before the half ended, but they’d have to settle for a 22-yard Josh Pollack field goal to make it a 21-10 game at halftime.
Arizona got the ball to start the second half and picked up -6 yards, punting the ball to Oregon State, which scored touchdowns on its first two drives of the half to push its lead to 35-10 with 5:16 left in the third quarter.
That would remain the score until Samajie Grant scored his third career rushing touchdown with 8:00 left in the fourth quarter, which the Beavers followed up with McMaryion’s fifth touchdown pass of the game to make it 42-17.
Here were the main takeaways from Arizona’s eighth straight loss:
Arizona’s QB situation continues to be a mess
Anu Solomon made his first start since the season-opening loss against BYU on Sept. 3, but had to leave the game with an injury in the second quarter.
Before the injury, Solomon looked OK, throwing for 82 yards on 6-11 passing. 43 of those yards were on a bomb to Shun Brown, who made a leaping catch deep down the field.
But Solomon’s night ended in the second quarter when he took a 19-yard sack on 3rd down at the Oregon State 24, pushing the Wildcats back to the 43-yard line and out of field goal range.
It was a inexcusable mental mistake, and to make things worse, Solomon was injured on the play and would not return.
Dawkins took over and immediately led two scoring drives, but fizzled out after that.
Dawkins threw for 106 yards (on 10-17 passing), ran for 88 yards on 15 carries, and threw for a touchdown and an interception.
Khalil Tate got some playing time in garbage time, too.
Arizona’s quarterback position continues to be a revolving door.
Third downs killed Arizona....again
Arizona was 105th in the country on getting stops at third down coming into this game — preventing opponents from moving the chains just 34.17 percent of the time — and its struggles continued against Oregon State.
The Beavers were 9 for 12 on third down. Oregon State was converting roughly 32 percent on third down coming into this game, but you would have never known that given how easily they picked up first downs against the Wildcats’ defense.
I guess the good news is Arizona’s offense was able to convert on a high percentage of first downs too, but only had 350 total yards compared to Oregon State’s 475.
McMaryion was able to complete 16 of his 19 passing attempts.
Running game couldn’t get going
Oregon State came into the contest with one of the Pac-12’s worst rushing defenses — allowing 5.4 yards per carry — yet Arizona couldn’t move the ball in that fashion.
As a team, the Wildcats averaged 4.1 yards per carry. Samajie Grant accumulated just 31 yards on 12 carries.
One reason why Arizona’s offense improved after Dawkins came in was because he was the only player that could generate yards on the ground.
It’s Territorial Cup or bust
Arizona is one game away from going winless in Pac-12 play for the first time in program history. Seriously. That’s a real thing that could happen.
The good news — if there is any — is that the final game of the season is a winnable one: a home game against in-state rival ASU.
The Sun Devils (5-6, 2-6) lost to Washington Saturday, meaning that Arizona will have an opportunity to keep ASU from reaching bowl eligibility when the two teams meet on Friday.
And as bad as Arizona has been this year, ASU is struggling in its own right, dropping its last five games. Plus, Arizona-ASU games are always toss ups anyway.
A Territorial Cup victory certainly wouldn’t erase how miserable of a season this has been for Arizona, but it’d sure make it more palatable.
Kickoff at Arizona Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MST on Friday, Nov. 25, and the game will be televised on ESPN.
The home team has won the last three Territorial Cup games. Arizona and Rutgers are the only two Power 5 teams that have yet to win a conference game.
Final box score
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