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Sunday, September 9, 2012
Instant analysis: Arizona 59, Okla. St. 38

By Ted Miller


TUCSON, Ariz. -- It was a barn burner in Tucson, but Arizona prevailed because it made fewer mistakes than No. 18 Oklahoma State.

It was over when: While it was difficult to feel like either one of these offenses was out of it, the biggest play of the game was the pick-six interception return from cornerback Jonathan McKnight that put Arizona up two touchdowns at 45-31 with 10:24 remaining. That seemed to knock the wind out of the Cowboys, who faded quickly thereafter.

Game ball goes to: Arizona quarterback Matt Scott completed 28 of 41 passes for 320 yards with two touchdowns. He also rushed for 55 yards and a score.

Stat of the game: The Cowboys finished with four turnovers and 15 penalties for 167 yards. The Wildcats had zero turnovers with four penalties for 27 yards. That sort of margin almost always belongs to the winning team.

Unsung hero of the game: The Wildcats' defense. Oklahoma State made things look easy while jumping ahead 14-0 on 61- and 64-yard drives. But the Arizona defense would rise up and keep the Cowboys from scoring on six consecutive possessions, and that paired well with 30 unanswered points from the offense.

What it means: It means that, for all its shortcomings, Arizona probably won't be a pushover in Pac-12 play this season. Rich Rodriguez's offense is a nice fit for the personnel -- particularly QB Matt Scott -- and the defense showed it could do just enough to support a win over a ranked team. For Oklahoma State, it means the Cowboys probably will take a step back in 2012 with a freshman quarterback and a questionable defense.