Arizona scored on its first possession … and then everything seemingly went south from there.
From there, Oregon out Arizona-ed Arizona give or take a few moments when Arizona stayed in it.
A newish quarterback – Oregon’s Justin Herbert – came in and gave Arizona the Tate Treatment – stunning an ill-prepared Wildcat team on Saturday night, 48-28 in Eugene.
Nothing could go right for Arizona. The run, pass, punts … everything.
How else do you explain a blowout, something Arizona hadn’t been through all season?
UA had no answer for Oregon quarterback Herbert, who had been out since late September with a collarbone injury. See what one good quarterback does for a program? Arizona had seen it for nearly six weeks – then came the Saturday night massacre.
Tate was stopped, stopped, stopped and stopped. I could write that all night but you get the picture.
Arizona’s once-in-a-lifetime Heisman hopeful was reduced to 32 rushing yards after averaging more than 160 since he came on the scene in October. Arizona’s run game had 179. For a few games there I wondered if would ever be stopped.
There was my answer.
“That’s the frustrating part about it,” Rich Rodriguez said of Oregon stopping Tate on the ground in his postgame radio show. “They got off blocks quicker. Until I watch the film. I got to see what some of the issues were. They did a nice job.”
By stopping Arizona’s thought-to-be-lethal run game, Oregon made Tate pass. And, well, that didn’t work well. Tate over through receivers and when he had receivers kind of open they dropped the passes.
Nothing went right for Arizona, especially the special teams. The Ducks had good field position a couple of times because of poor punts. Starter Josh Pollack was ineffective and was replaced by Jake Glatting, who was no better on his one kick.
“Our punt team – it’s just remarkable how we do it in the practice but in the game it really (puts his team in a bad position),” Rodriguez said. “(But) we’re not stopping anybody anyway.”
It didn’t Saturday.
Arizona was at its season’s worst. Behind Herbert, Oregon made things look easy. He threw the deep ball well, finding receivers wide open. And when that wasn’t happening, Royce Freeman ran with ease. He had four touchdown runs.
“It’s just a mess, just a mess,” Rodriguez said of his defensive line that lost two starters to injuries during the game.
Just a mess could be the theme for Saturday night.