The last time the Arizona Wildcats and Oklahoma State Cowboys met, the Pokes took the 2010 Alamo Bowl 36-10. The outcome on Thursday evening was more of the same for the 'Cats, this time with UA falling 37-14 in front of the entire country.
Arizona was outmatched in nearly ever facet of the game. The loss of Juron Criner just days before the game was blatantly obvious as the offense struggled to move the ball in the first half, and the defense did not have much of a chance against the high-flying attack from Brandon Weeden, Joseph Randle and Justin Blackmon. If a team loses their starting cornerback, middle linebacker, and both safeties, it's tough to stop any offense, let alone one of the best in the country. The Wildcats learned this in a hurry on Thursday night.
The first three drives for Oklahoma State all resulted in touchdowns. With nearly 13 minutes remaining in the second quarter and UA down 21-0, it appeared the game was about to get ugly in a hurry. Despite not putting any points on the board the rest of the way, the offense and defense at least showed signs of life. Give coach Stoops and his team credit; in previous years, the 'Cats are down 40 points at halftime in this scenario. That did not happen this time around.
Arizona actually tried to make a game of it in the third quarter. After a long, poised drive from Nick Foles -- who completed 37 of 51 passes for 398 yards and one touchdown -- Keola Antolin rushed up the middle to make the score 21-7. After the Cowboys worked the ball down the field, UA came up with an interception at the five-yard line to keep the game in-reach. Unfortunately, two penalties killed any chance Foles had of moving the ball down the field once again and the drive resulted in a punt.
That essentially ended the game right there.
Oklahoma State's offense regained their momentum on the following drive and Weeden hit Blackmon in the corner of the end zone to make the score 27-7. A touchdown rush from Jeremy Smith increased the lead to 34-7 with 12 minutes to play.
Foles hit Dan Bucker for a pretty 54-yard touchdown pass with ten minutes remaining, though it did come against most of the backups for OK. State. It was a nice conclusion to Buckner's night, who led the team with 10 catches, 142 yards and a touchdown reception. Progress, 'Cats fans. Progress.
For a team that seemingly had everything stacked against them, Arizona at least kept the game close through three quarters. No one expected a victory tonight; what they did expect was for the team to battle back in a time of adversity, and they did that. A closer outcome would have been nice, but on this night, the Cowboys were simply the better team.
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