Thursday, December 30, 2010
Instant analysis: Oklahoma State 36, Arizona 10
By Ted Miller
For the second consecutive year, Arizona laid an egg in its bowl game -- this time a 36-10 loss to Oklahoma State. Not good.
How the game was won: It's more accurate to say how the game was lost. It was lost by Arizona's sloppy play: Turnovers (four to zero from Oklahoma State), penalties, dropped passes, poorly thrown passes, blown coverages, missed field goals, etc. Just name things a football team shouldn't do and the Wildcats did them. The Wildcats have now been outscored 69-10 in their past two bowl games.
Turning point: You could say that the turning point was Arizona's Bug Wright fumbling the punt after the Wildcats stopped Oklahoma State on the game's opening possession, which set up the Cowboys first touchdown. But it became clear a negative trajectory for the game was firmly established when QB Nick Foles, on a third-and-8 from the Oklahoma State 47, threw a 62-yard pick-six to Markelle Martin. That made it 23-7, and the Wildcats never really made a challenge.
Stat of the game: One team had 25 first downs, the other had 17. One had 370 yards, the other 312. So guess which team had 36 points and which had 10? That just goes to show that sloppy play, such as losing the turnover battle 4-0, will kill a team.
Second guessing: Foles clearly didn't have his best stuff. Therefore, it was a bit surprising the Wildcats didn't give backup Matt Scott, who played so well when Foles was out with a knee injury, a shot to spark the offense when the final result was still in doubt.
What Arizona learned: The Wildcats have not arrived. They have crawled out of the Pac-10 basement and established themselves as a competitive program and a bowl team, but Arizona is not yet a top-25 program.
What it means: A five-game losing streak to end the season means the Wildcats and coach Mike Stoops will be hearing some grumbling this offseason. The Wildcats also face the prospect of rival Arizona State being the favorites in the new Pac-12 South in 2011.