Arizona pulls an upset in victory over Oklahoma State

By Kyle Johnson

Arizona Daily Wildcat, U. Arizona via UWIRE

The recipe for an upset: defensive touchdowns, costly penalties by the favorite and most importantly, winning the turnover battle.

For Arizona (2-0) it was check, check and check, leading to a 59-38 upset of No. 18 Oklahoma State at home and its first win over a ranked team since September of 2010.

“I did talk all week about us trying to make our program relevant,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “And the best way to make yourselves relevant is to beat a ranked team.”

The Wildcats picked off Oklahoma State’s Wes Lunt three times — including a 48-yard pick six by sophomore corner Jonathan McKnight — and also forced a fumble.

“That just got us fired up,” safety Jared Tevis said about the McKnight interception. “We knew from there on that we were going to win this dog fight. McKnight is a great player and we knew he was just waiting to breakout and have a breakout play.”

“And it was just great seeing him run down that sideline,” added Tevis who had two of the Wildcats’ interceptions.

The Cowboys committed 15 penalties for an Oklahoma State record 167 yards, with 10 of the penalties coming in the first half.

“They were committing stupid fouls,” quarterback Matt Scott said. “Late (hits), holding — They had a bunch of penalties. I guess you could say it helped us out but obviously we still had to play.”

Scott threw two touchdowns and ran for another while never turning it over and as a team they didn’t commit a single turnover.

“We knew they were going to try and strip the ball from us, that’s what kind of a team they are,” Scott said. “They live and thrive with turnovers.”

After giving up the ball three times last week, Scott said the team made it an emphasis all week to limit turnovers and the added attention paid off for the Wildcats.

And the 121 yards on 24 attempts by running back Ka’Deem Carey didn’t hurt either, especially since the sophomore only had 27 yards at halftime. Carey also had four scores on the night, including a final one yard dive at the end of the game to secure the upset.

“It’s the best win I’ve had here at Arizona,” joked Rodriguez when asked where the win ranks in his career. “Last week’s was nice but this one’s even nicer.”

Oklahoma State came flying out of the gate, scoring two touchdowns in its first two possessions before eight minutes had ticked off the the clock.

The ease of the Cowboys two scores made it appear like the game would get ugly, and fast. But thanks to a heap of penalties by Oklahoma State and some inspired play from the Wildcats defense, the UA scored 23 unanswered points and had a nine point advantage at half.

The Arizona defense contained star running back Joseph Randle, who scored 24 touchdowns in 2011, to 65 yards on 13 carries in the first half. Randle finished the game with 122 yards on 22 attempts.

Arizona kept its momentum rolling out of halftime, scoring on a 13-yard screen pass to running back Ka’Deem Carey, but Oklahoma State answered and returned to its early game form.

But with the game looking like it might slip away, Arizona stay composed and answered with a quick five play drive that was capped off with a 13 yard scamper by Scott, giving Arizona a 37-28 lead.

Scott had 28-for-41 for 320 yards and added 55 yards on the ground.

“(Scott) is as good of a competitor as I’ve been around,” Rodriguez said. “He’s certainly the key of our offensive performance.”

After an Oklahoma State field goal and Arizona punt, the Cowboys got the ball back with a chance to regain the lead.

But on a third and 12 with just under 11 minutes left in the game, Lunt dropped back to pass. The Wildcats finally got pressure and the true freshman let his pass float in the air.

McKnight pounced on the throw and intercepted the ball for a pick six and gave Arizona a two touchdown lead.

“Without question that was the play of the game,” Rodriguez said. “That was the play of the game.”

Safety Jared Tevis then grabbed his second interception of the game as the ball bounced out of the hands of of receiver Josh Stewart.

Carey then put the nail in the coffin with a 25-yard run to put Arizona up 52-31 with just under five minutes left in the game.

The Cowboys chipped away at the lead with a 22-yard pass to receiver Tracy Moore, his fourth of the game. But OSU failed to recover the onside kick, and any chance of a comeback was dashed.

Lunt finished the game with 37-for-60 for 436 yards and four touchdowns, but three picks.

Carey added another touchdown on a run just for good measure gave the crowd of 48,602 at Arizona Stadium a game to remember.

Read more here: http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2012/09/504c205293b8f
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