The Arizona Wildcats fell to 1-5 on the season and 0-4 in conference play after their loss to the Oregon State Beavers, who had not won a game before Saturday. Here is the report card for the team:
In a disturbing trend that has now been blatantly obvious for three straight weeks, Nick Foles has gotten off to a terrible start in the first quarter, picked it up slowly in the second quarter, and then has a big second half once the game is essentially out of hand. Foles' numbers certainly weren't bad -- 31-for-45 for 378 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions isn't terrible -- but a good majority of those yards and completions came once the Beavers took big lead.
It's a shame that Foles' senior season is being wasted because of an abysmal offensive line and inconsistent running game, because he truly is a once-in-a-decade type talent. The fact is UA fans will never quite get to see 'Sunshine' live up to his full potential because of these weaknesses.
Running Backs: D
Through the first half of play, the running backs had seven attempts on the ground for 10 yards. Ten yards against an Oregon State defense that had been victimized by rushing attacks all season long, ten yards against a defense that was allowing nearly 38 points-per-game to their opponents. That's absolutely unacceptable.
Keola Antolin had a decent second half and finished with 28 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Kadeem Carey appeared to be sleepwalking throughout the game and had eight carries for eight yards and a goal line touchdown. Between these two, Daniel Jenkins, Taimi Tutogi and Nick Foles, the team had totaled 19 rushes for 53 yards. That's 2.8 yards on average, folks. That's even more unacceptable.
Wide Receivers: B
Despite Juron Criner's ankle injury in the first quarter -- an injury he would not return from at full strength -- Dan Buckner had a big game hauling in eight passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. While it appeared the former-Texas Longhorn was about to have his breakout performance with the Wildcats, Buckner dropped a touchdown pass with just minutes remaining that essentially ended the game. We can't have that from our No. 2 receiver.
Other than Bucker, Gino Crump (7 catches, 91 yards), David Douglas (6 catches, 58 yards) and David Roberts (5 catches, 41 yards) all had solid games, with most of their action coming in the second half. The receivers were not the problem on Saturday.
Offensive Line: F
Honestly, there isn't much analysis needed here. Foles was continually rushed out of the pocket despite Oregon State seldom blitzing and the running game was a non-factor. It was more of the same for the offensive line. This may honestly be the worst o-line of any school in any BCS conference. It's that bad, folks.
Defensive Line and Linebackers: C-
After a big first half from Sean Mannion and Jovan Stevenson, the defensive line did a much better job getting pressure on the OSU backfield in the second half. That being said, it was too little, too late and the early deficit was caused of the line's inability to get anything on the quarterback.
Shaq Richardson came away with two interceptions, one of which he returned 28 yards for a touchdown. Other than that, the secondary was a mess. It is understandable if Oregon, Stanford, Oklahoma State or USC torch our secondary because of the sheer talent and skill their quarterbacks and receivers posses, but to Sean Mannion and Oregon State?
Mannion completed 32 of 41 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw two interceptions, but both were essentially once the game was in hand. And when the defense really needed a stop to give Arizona's offense one more chance to tie the game, the Beavers marched down the field and Mannion had a wide assortment of open receivers to throw to.
Trevin Wade, the only consistent member of the unit throughout this season, was also injured during the game. He returned, but it was clear he was not at full strength. When it rains, it pours, I suppose.
Special Teams: F
Alex Zendejas missed a field goal. Then he missed an extra-point. Arizona had a punt blocked and taken for a touchdown. They failed to recover a squib kick which led to a field goal in the final seconds of the first half. Because of the poor performance of the kickers, the team was forced to go for a two-point conversion twice; they only converted once.
The worst part of this is it could be the scenario for just about any of the games this season. Changes need to be made. Enough is enough, already. This team is embarrassing itself on a weekly basis and it's tough to watch.