OSU RECAP: WILDCATS RUN BY BEAVERS IN PAC-12 FINALE
#13 Arizona 73
Oregon State 3
Both Pedersen (L) and Rogers (R) had major impacts in the Wildcats' fourth straight victory.
April 4- Arizona traveled to Oregon State this weekend for their 2016 PAC-12 finale seeking another victory to help position themselves for a possible playoff invite. With a scrappy Oregon State team standing in the Wildcats' way, it was a key weekend for a young Arizona team looking to continue to grow.
This growth took another step early on Saturday, as a Kyle Rogers penalty preceded an impressive forwards effort from the Wildcats that set up Scrumhalf Jonah Eldridge's first try in the 8th minute. While the Beavers responded with a penalty of their own in the 11th minute to make it 8-3, this was the closest the match would be all day, as a beautiful linebreak by Adam Wilson and a hard fighting try by Ryan Fitzpatrick gave the Wildcats an 18-3 lead before Steven Branham caught an overthrown OSU lineout and rumbled in for a 39th minute try to make it 23-3 at halftime.
Despite the 20-point lead at half, the three-week layoff showed a bit of rust for the Wildcats. "We were not pleased with our missed opportunities in the first half" said Head Coach Sean Duffy. "Having said that, we responded in the second half, capitalizing more, and it's a credit to our impact reserves for helping us to a strong second period."
This strong second period started early, with Lock Dacoda Worth stringing together numerous long runs in a reserve role and eventually touching down before Jake Rice took advantage of a stolen scrum to score a try of his own to make it 37-3. With Arizona continuing to exert pressure in the scrum and in their defense, the Wildcats took advantage of OSU mistakes, with Fullback Tyler Sousley's 70 meter try the nail in the coffin 53 minutes in. In the final 25 minutes, tries from Eldridge, Wilson, Fitzpatrick, and Matt Rogers were scored before Hooker Bryce Mantell's 60 meter try to end the game on an exclamation note to make it 73-7.
For the Wildcats, the win marks a number of milestones for the side, as it is their fourth straight this year, their third straight over Oregon State, and their largest margin of victory in three years. "This is a scrappy tough team we had to get through today in Oregon State and it's a credit to our guys for working hard, trusting the process, and continuing to strive for a complete performance. We got a bit closer today to that goal. 11 of our 12 tries were scored by Freshmen and Sophomores and that's a great sign for the future" said Duffy.
Arizona returns to action this coming weekend in their regular season finale, hosting UC-San Diego before what they hope will be a trip to the 2016 D1A Playoffs. Selections for this year's field should be announced shortly.
Tries: Eldridge (2), FItzpatrick (2), Wilson (2), Branham, Worth, Rice, Sousley, M. Rogers, Mantell
Conversions: Wilson- 5/10; K. Rogers- 0/2
Penalties: K. Rogers- 1/1