Thursday nights are beautiful, aren’t they? For most people, Thursday’s mean that there is just one day of work left before the weekend, so it’s okay to stay up a bit later if there is a game worth your time. And while the Packers blowout of the Vikings may not have been much of one to take interest in, that wasn’t the case on the college gridiron.
Instead, every moment of the Pac-12 showdown between Arizona and Oregon was action packed. Although both teams entered the game undefeated, the Ducks are ranked #2 in the nation, while the Wildcats have yet to break the Top 25. That might all change now. In the end, the unranked Wildcats stunned the #2 Ducks on their home field, giving them their first loss on the season.
Oregon is known for fast starts, especially when playing at home, so it might’ve been one of the first signs of bad things to come when the Ducks were blanked in the first quarter. Instead, the Wildcats were able to get three points of their own when Casey Skowron hit a 28-yard field goal.
During the first game of October in Eugene, the fans at Autzen were anxious for something to get going and warm them up. Luckily, they finally had something to cheer about in the second quarter. Just a few seconds into the quarter, the Ducks ran a trick play that involved Royce Freeman tossing the ball to Marcus Mariota. Known more for his pocket presence than for his trucking abilities, Mariota then ran over two Wildcat defenders and found the end zone. What made things even more interesting was that it appeared that Mariota lost control of the ball on the play, but replays showed that it wasn’t until after he entered the end zone.
While 10 combined points for a half is atypical for an Oregon game, things surely got off to a hurry in the third quarter.
Just three minutes into the second half, freshman Nick Wilson ran in a 3-yard score for Arizona for them to take the lead. Mariota and Oregon struck right back with a score of their own to tie things up at 10. After that, Wilson would take control of things once again. He scored on another short drive at the 6:27 mark, and then caught a pass for 34 yards and another touchdown. The 21 points in the quarter gave the Wildcats a big lead, and you could see the look of concern throughout Eugene.
In typical Ducks fashion, they came roaring back right out the gate in the fourth quarter. They scored a quick 10 points and the game was tied back up at 24. However, Terris Jones-Grigsby would score for Arizona with just under three minutes remaining in the game, which would be enough to give the Wildcats the win.
It’s hard to determine what might be more of a shocker in this. Sure, it’s no surprise that whenever Oregon loses, the entire nation will take note. This may be even more the case now that the College Football Championship will be decided by a playoff. You can check back with sportspicks.com for more information throughout the season and into insider picks for every game.
However, what may be even more surprising is that the Wildcats were unranked coming into this game. This wasn’t an Arizona team that looked to be a lucky 4-0 before things kicked off. This looked like a team that could run with the best of them, and yet they aren’t even ranked in the Top 25. We’ll keep an eye on Arizona and how things go for them after arguably one of their biggest wins in recent memory.
After the loss, the Ducks plummeted to 12/1 odds to win the College Football Championship this year. Arizona is also on the table, but they are a lowly 225/1.
The Wildcats will look to keep things going when they take on another ranked team in #16 USC on October 11, while the Ducks will try and regroup before their game against #8 UCLA. The Pac-12 is shaping up to be interesting, and a lot more could be answered in the following few weeks worth of games.