November 16, 2007

Ducks' dreams crushed as UA learns to win

Bob Stoops had two messages in his post-game phone call Thursday night to little brother Mike: Congratulations and thank you.

Mike Stoops proved once again that the staggering reconstruction of Arizona football is closer to completion than his critics would think as the Wildcats staged an improbable 34-24 upset of No. 2 Oregon.

Yet another UA shocker in November boosts the stock of those teams lined up behind the Ducks in the BCS standings, including Bob's Oklahoma Sooners.

Fourth-ranked OU (9-1) is one of a handful of once-beaten teams to benefit from Arizona's third consecutive win.

No. 5 Missouri (9-1), No. 6 West Virginia (8-1), No. 7 Ohio State (10-1) and No. 8 ASU (9-1) also got varied boosts.

Assuming No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Kansas take care of business as heavy favorites this weekend, the Jayhawks would be No. 2 behind the Tigers when the new BCS standings are released on Sunday.

Arizona isn't a part of the BCS mix - at least not this year.

But Thursday night's nationally-televised game on ESPN gave the Cats a taste of the big time.

The contest essentially boiled down to one play. When UO quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Dennis Dixon left the game with a knee injury late in the opening quarter, the Ducks were cooked.

Brady Leaf was worse than ineffective, and UA seniors Antoine Cason and Spencer Larsen made their final games at Arizona Stadium memorable.

Cason put up a pick-six against Leaf and also returned a punt for a TD, and Larsen posted 16 tackles and caused a key fumble. Cason also jarred a ball loose after the Ducks successfully pulled off a fake punt early in the fourth.

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