TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona raced past Oregon for its biggest win in over two decades.
By doing so, the Wildcats ended the Ducks’ national-championship hopes and may have knocked them out of the BCS altogether.
Ka’Deem Carey ran for 206 yards and four touchdowns while becoming Arizona’s all-time leading rusher, and the Wildcats took advantage of numerous Oregon miscues to shock the fifth-ranked Ducks 42-16 on Saturday.
Coming off a disappointing home loss to Washington State, Arizona (7-4, 4-4) didn’t back off the throttle of its up-tempo offense against the fast-paced Ducks.
With Carey bursting through the line to punish defenders and B.J. Denker dinking and dashing with a variety of fakes, the Wildcats jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead and kept going for their first win over a top-five team since knocking off No. 1 Washington 1992.
Oregon (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) gave the Wildcats plenty of help with three turnovers and turning it over twice more on downs to end its national title hopes and, possibly, its four-year run of BCS bowls.
Carey was the workhorse for Arizona as he has been all season, carrying a school-record 48 times while scoring on runs of 6, 1, 9 and 2 yards to break Art Luppino’s career record of 48 total touchdowns set from 1953-56. Carey also reached 3,913 career yards rushing, breaking the mark of 3,824 set by Trung Canidate from 1996-99.
Denker threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 102 more and Arizona had 304 yards rushing, a season-high against Oregon.
The normally high-flying Ducks couldn’t keep up in the Wildcats’ final home game of the season.
Clinging to national-title hopes, Oregon sputtered most of the day, showing only flashes of the offensive brilliance that had them No. 2 in total offense and third in scoring entering the game.
Marcus Mariota threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions, his first since Nov. 17, 2012, against Stanford.
The first one was a spectacular play, too, kick-starting Arizona for the monumental upset.
It came on Oregon’s first play from scrimmage, when Bralon Addison dropped a pass near the sideline. Arizona cornerback Shaquille Richardson snared the carom and flipped it back to teammate Scooby Wright as he was falling out of bounds.
Carey followed with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Oregon’s next drive ended with another drop, this one by De’Anthony Thomas on what would have been a big third-down gain. Arizona followed with another touchdown, a 9-yard pass from Denker to Nate Phillips along the left sideline to make it 14-0.
The Wildcats kept marching on Oregon’s defense, moving 83 yards in 16 plays for a 5-yard touchdown pass from Denker, who set it up by faking the run, to Terrence Miller to make it 21-3.
Arizona got one more chance after stopping Oregon on downs, ripping off 59 yards in 42 seconds for Carey’s second TD, a 1-yard run that made it 28-9 at halftime.
The Wildcats’ defense wasn’t bad, either.
The Ducks needed over eight minutes to get their first first down and when they finally got a drive going, had to settle for Matt Wogan’s 33-yard field goal after a holding call against tight end Pharaoh Brown negated Mariota’s 6-yard TD run.
Oregon raced down for a 1-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Brown in the second quarter, but the final two drives of the half ended in failure: Thomas Tyner lost a fumble and Mariota came up short on fourth-and-2 when he was stripped of the ball.
The Ducks opened second half by failing on a fourth-and-2 at Arizona’s 6 and did nothing else until Mariota hit Josh Huff on a 2-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.
Arizona answered with a bruising 75-yard drive, capped by Carey’s 49th career TD, a 2-yard run that put Arizona up 42-16.
Richardson sealed the upset with an interception near the goal line late in the fourth quarter and the fans streamed from the stands once the final horn sounded.