Oregon Battles Arizona To 28-21 Win.
Oct. 22, 2005
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Linebacker Brent Haberly returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and No. 15 Oregon beat Arizona 28-21 Saturday despite the Ducks' top two quarterbacks being knocked out of the game on consecutive possessions.
Blair Phillips, another linebacker, had a sack and recovered another fumble late in the game to stop Arizona's final scoring threat, and Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-10) won for the fourth straight time since losing to No. 1 Southern California. The Ducks also won their seventh in a row over the Wildcats.
Haberly's play 49 seconds into the fourth quarter on an unforced fumble by Mike Bell came after the Wildcats knocked out Oregon starting quarterback Kellen Clemens and backup Dennis Dixon on consecutive possessions in the third.
Brady Leaf, a sophomore used primarily as a holder, was ineffectual at quarterback most of the fourth, but after Phillips' recovery of Bell's second fumble on the Oregon 34, he completed a 10-yard pass to Demetrius Williams and a 17-yarder to Terrence Whitehead for crucial first downs to run out the clock.
Leaf finished 5-for-10 for 53 yards and an interception.
Oregon built a 21-0 lead in the first quarter on Clemens' 54-yard pass to Cameron Colvin, a 69-yard punt return by Justin Phinisee and a 4-yard run by Jonathan Stewart.
Arizona's Willie Tuitama, his redshirt season ended with four games to go out of coach Mike Stoops' concern with the offense, went 18-for-34 and two TD passes and an interception in his debut.
Bell had a season-high 158 yards on 20 carries, but his two lost fumbles sent the Wildcats (1-6, 0-4) to their fifth consecutive loss.
The Wildcats battled back to a 21-all tie after Tuitama came in for sophomore Richard Kovalcheck, the starter of 11 straight games. Tuitama passed 12 yards to Travel Bell for one score and 17 to Mike Thomas for another. Between those two scores, Mike Bell bolted 50 yards for a TD that produced a 21-14 halftime score.
The Ducks, at ease playing smash-mouth or big-play football behind an offensive line averaging 321 pounds, took the easy route to their three-touchdown lead.
Oregon scored 4:36 in when Colvin caught a short pass from Clemens at midfield, wriggled out of a tackle and ran untouched the rest of the way to the end zone.
The Ducks made it 14-0 on Phinisee's punt return for a score - the first against Arizona since LSU's Skyler Green had one two years ago - and added the third TD with 54 seconds left in the quarter on Stewart's run one play after Clemens passed 57 yards to Williams.
But the second quarter belonged to Arizona.
Tuitama replaced Kovalcheck after Kovalcheck committed his fifth turnover (third interception) in five quarters and led the Wildcats on an 80-yard drive helped by Bell's 20- and 18-yard runs. Tuitama capped the drive with his pass to Travis Bell with 12:31 left in the second.
Bell broke free up the middle and scored with 4:52 to go, but Arizona squandered a chance to tie it after picking up a first down at the Oregon 30 with about a minute left.
Oregon safety Anthony Trucks changed the momentum by sacking Tuitama for eight yards on first down, and Tuitama threw two incompletions before Stoops decided to punt with 26 seconds left.
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