Oregon Ducks: End of the Duck Dynasty

Oregon falls from the ranks of the unbeaten.

NCAA Football: Arizona at Oregon

An Oregon Ducks fan reacts at the end of the game as the Arizona Wildcats defeated the Ducks 31-24 at Autzen Stadium. (Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports)

(C+P) — There is a new dynasty in the making within the Pac-12 and it’s not a Duck Dynasty. The Arizona Wildcats behind three touchdowns from true freshman Nick Wilson stunned the second-ranked Oregon Ducks once again, holding off the Quack Attack 31-24 on Thursday night.

Terris Jones-Grisby reached the end zone from a yard out for the tiebreaking touchdown with 2:54 left. Wilson ran for a pair of scores and caught another to lift the Wildcats (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12).

It was the second straight season and third time since 2007 that an unranked Arizona team upset an Oregon squad ranked in the Top 5.

Arizona has won its first five games for the first time since 1998.

The loss silenced Autzen Stadium’s 100th straight sellout crowd and shot down the Ducks’ chances of getting a spot in college football’s first postseason playoff.

Marcus Mariota threw for 276 yards and two touchdown in Oregon’s loss. He also caught a TD pass, but was sacked five times and turned the ball over for the first time all season; a crucial strip by Arizona’s Scooby Wright in the final minutes.

It was the first time Oregon had lost to an unranked team at home since a 37-32 loss to Boise State on Sept. 20, 2008.

Last November, the No. 5 Ducks lost to Arizona 42-16 in Tucson, dashing any hopes the team had for a national championship. The blowout victory was the school’s first over a top-5 team since knocking off No. 2 Oregon in 2007.

Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) walks off the field after losing to the Arizona Wildcats 31-24 at Autzen Stadium. (Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports)
Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) walks off the field after losing to the Arizona Wildcats 31-24 at Autzen Stadium. (Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports)

Arizona’s Anu Solomon, a redshirt freshman, threw for 287 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats, who jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on Casey Skowron’s 28-yard field goal.

The Ducks appeared to still be struggling with their unstable offensive line.

Oregon got creative to start the second quarter with Mariota handing off to freshman running back Royce Freeman, who lobbed the ball back to Mariota for a 28-yard touchdown. After a review for what could have been a fumble at the goal line, the TD stood to put the Ducks up 7-3.

The play recalled Keenan Howry’s 18-yard touchdown pass to QB Joey Harrington in Oregon’s 35-20 victory over Texas in the 2000 Holiday Bowl.

The Ducks weren’t the only ones making unusual plays. Solomon threw a 21-yard pass to himself — helped by a carom off Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner. The Wildcats made it to the red zone, but Jones-Grigsby fumbled and the Ducks recovered on their own 10-yard line.

Arizona opened the second half with a six-play, 80-yard drive capped by Wilson’s 3-yard touchdown run to go up 10-7.

Oregon answered with its own scoring drive — helped along by a taunting call on Arizona that gave the Ducks a crucial first down — that ended when Mariota hit Devon Allen with a 6-yard pass to make it 14-10.

Wilson added a 2-yard scoring run to give the lead back to the Wildcats. Before the third quarter was over he tacked on a 34-yard TD pass to Solomon to give Arizona a 24-14 advantage going into the final quarter.

The Ducks were hurt when starting defensive end Arik Armstead left the game midway through the second quarter with what appeared to be a left foot injury. Armstead was slow to get up on a third-down play and later retreated to the locker room with team trainers.

Mariota threw for 329 yards and five touchdowns in Oregon’s previous game, a 38-31 victory at Washington State on Sept. 20.

Arizona also had a bye week after a dramatic, come-from-behind 49-45 victory over California, won when Solomon hit Austin Hill on a 47-yard “Hail Mary” on the game’s final play.

Arizona will now return home to prepare for No. 16 USC on Oct. 11 while Oregon will try and regroup for No. 8 UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

Comments

comments

Written By
More from Eric Purdy

Justin Zemser: Navy Midshipmen and Modern-Day American Hero

Eric Purdy takes a look back at the life of Justin Zemser,...
Read More

Leave a Reply