Third-ranked Oregon had a fast start and a big finish against Arizona.
Anthony Brown threw for 206 yards and three touchdowns, and the Ducks handed the Wildcats their 16th straight loss with a 41-19 victory on Saturday night.
Oregon (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) extended its winning streak at Autzen Stadium to 15 games. The Ducks are the lone undefeated team left in the Pac-12.
After Arizona got uncomfortably close in the third quarter, Oregon scored 17 unanswered points to put the game away in the fourth.
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“The fourth quarter was a real bright spot. But the stuff in between is the stuff that we continually have to — we have to get better, bottom line,” coach Mario Cristobal said. “There’s too many inconsistencies in the middle there that we should be, and can be, better at. So we’ve got to go to work.”
The Wildcats (0-4, 0-1) closed to within 24-19 on Drake Anderson’s 1-yard touchdown run.
Oregon extended its lead with Camden Lewis’ 43-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, then added Brown’s 18-yard scoring pass to Spencer Webb to make it 34-19 with 8:26 left.
Bennett Williams’ 68-yard interception return for a touchdown on Arizona’s ensuing series sealed Oregon’s victory.
“I would say we had a lot of self-inflicted wounds today, and even just mental errors,” Brown said. “So just cleaning that up as the season goes on, and everything should be fine.”
Brown found Jaylon Redd with a 63-yard touchdown just more than a minute into the game. Then Oregon intercepted Arizona starter Jordan McCloud on the Wildcats’ first series.
Arizona’s depth chart this week included all three quarterbacks as possible starters: Will Plummer, Gunner Cruz and McCloud.
It was clear from pre-game warmups that Plummer was nursing an injury. McCloud started and threw for 233 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted five times.
Lewis gave the Ducks a 10-0 lead with a 21-yard field goal, and Arizona answered with McCloud’s 11-yard scoring pass to tight end Bryce Wolma.
CJ Verdell scored on an 11-yard run for the Ducks before the opening quarter was over. Brown’s 9-yard scoring pass to Terrance Ferguson gave the Ducks a 24-7 lead.
Lucas Havrisik’s 28-yard field goal made it 24-10 with 4:24 left in the half.
Mo Diallo’s safety and Anderson’s touchdown run narrowed the margin in the third quarter.
Arizona coach Jedd Fisch said he felt the Wildcats improved.
“We came into Autzen Stadium, it was the No. 3 team in the country, and it was a five-point game going into the fourth quarter,” Arizona coach Jedd Fisch said. “We rushed for over 200 yards, we threw for over 200 yards, we were very balanced.”
Oregon was favored by more than four touchdowns in the game, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. But Arizona had surprised the Ducks before: The Wildcats’ last victory over a ranked opponent was in 2018, when they routed No. 19 Oregon 44-15. In 2014, Arizona beat No. 2 Oregon 31-24 in Eugene.
Arizona’s losing streak is the longest currently in FBS.
Arizona: The Wildcats were without defensive end Mo Diallo and safety Jaxen Turner for the first half of the game because of targeting calls last week in a loss to NAU.
Oregon: Verone McKinley III had his fourth interception of the season early in the second half. He leads the Pac-12. He’s the first Oregon player with an interception in three straight games since the 2012 season.
THIBODEAUX’S BRIEF RETURN
The Ducks saw the return of defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who hadn’t played since injured his ankle in the opener. Thibodeaux, who is considered a top pick in the NFL draft next year if he decides to go pro, came into the game midway through the first quarter. However, he did not return in the second half.
Although it appeared that Thibodeaux reaggravated the injury, coach Mario Cristobal said after the game that sitting him in the second half was about load management.
MCCLOUD TAKES THE REINS
Fisch said the decision was made this week to go with McCloud, who will be the Wildcats’ starter going forward.
“He just had the poise to keep on battling. He was never afraid to throw the football,” Fisch said. “I’m sure he’s upset right now, and I hate that for him. But those things happen and we’re going to going to grow from it and get better.”
Arizona is going into a bye week before hosting UCLA (3-1, 1-0) on Oct. 9.
Oregon visits Stanford next Saturday. The Cardinal (2-2, 1-1) fell to the Bruins 35-24 earlier Saturday.