GameDay: The history of Oregon-Arizona continues in a winner-take-all battle
The last time the Ducks were led by a Heisman trophy contending quarterback, ranked No. 2 in the nation and facing the Arizona Wildcats, they ended experiencing the worst possible outcome.
Not only did Oregon suffer a loss on that fateful night in 2007, quarterback Dennis Dixon suffered a season-ending knee injury when he crumpled to the ground with a torn ACL.
From Dixon’s injury, to Oregon’s miraculous comeback in 2009, to Arizona’s stunning upset last year, the Oregon-Arizona matchup has quickly become one of the more intriguing rivalries in recent years.
Now with a rematch of this season’s contest set for Friday in the Pac-12 Championship, here’s a quick recap of the last 10 years:
2005: No. 15 Oregon 28 – Arizona 21: Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens suffered a severe ankle injury, but the Ducks’ defense stepped up and caused two fumbles in the fourth quarter, one returned for the game-winning touchdown.
2006: Arizona 37 – Oregon 10: This year, it was Arizona’s defense doing the damage as the Wildcats forced six turnovers, including three interceptions of Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon, to pull out the victory.
2007: Arizona 34 – No. 2 Oregon 24: This is the game Oregon fans most likely want to forget. Dixon went down in the first quarter and Arizona’s Antoine Cason returned a punt and interception for touchdowns as the Wildcats ended Oregon’s national championship hopes.
2008: Oregon 55 – Arizona 45: Jeremiah Masoli accounted for five touchdowns, but a 40-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter by LeGarrette Blount, who sealed the win. Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski had 12 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown to lead a comeback that just fell short.
2009: No. 11 Oregon 44 – Arizona 41 (2 OT): After an interception in the end zone, the Ducks drove 80 yards in 3:05 to send the game into overtime when Masoli hit Ed Dickson with an 8 yard touchdown pass with six seconds left in the fourth quarter, sending the frantic Arizona fans ready to rush the field back to their seats. The Ducks capitalized in the second overtime after Masoli bulldozed into the end zone from one yard out for his sixth touchdown of the game and the win.
2010: No. 1 Oregon 48 – No. 20 Arizona 29: Trailing 19-14 at the half, Oregon scored 34 points in the final two quarters en route to winning the first matchup that featured teams ranked at the same time. LaMichael James ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns while Darron Thomas threw for three more scores.
2011: No. 10 Oregon 56 – Arizona 31: It was James’ record-setting night as he set a school-record 288 yards rushing while breaking the Oregon career mark for rushing touchdowns. This was James’ coming out party as he would later win the Doak Walker Award given to the nation’s best running back.
2012: No. 3 Oregon 49 – No. 22 Arizona 0: The most lopsided game of the series over the past decade was an absolute shamble as the Ducks’ defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns (Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Troy Hill) and held the Wildcats offense to zero points.
2013: Arizona 42 – No. 5 Oregon 16: Ka’Deem Carey carried the ball 48 times for 206 yards and four touchdowns as Arizona once again pulled off the top-five upset and knocked the Ducks out of National Championship and Rose Bowl contention.
2014 (Part One): Arizona 31 – Oregon 24: Arizona’s ball control offense stymied the Ducks again and Scooby Wright III forced a Marcus Mariota fumble at the end of the game to prevent a comeback.
Follow Ryan Kostecka on Twitter @Ryan_Kostecka
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