Citizen Staff Writer
ARIZONA WILDCATS FOOTBALL
Arizona cornerback Devin Ross could only see the back of jersey No. 19.
Oregon State’s Sammie Stroughter had a three- or four-step lead on the Wildcat cornerback with the clock ticking down.
“I saw him and I’m like, ‘Oh man, I have to catch up to him,’ ” Ross said. “I fell a little short.”
Ross didn’t bring Stroughter down until he caught a 47-yard pass to the Arizona 7-yard line, setting up the Beavers’ game-winning 24-yard Justin Kahut field goal for a 19-17 victory Saturday.
It was the perfect time and perfect execution with quarterback Sean Canfield hitting Stroughter on the wheel route after the Beavers bumped off safety Cam Nelson with a double receiver post pattern.
“After they ran Cam off that left us alone,” safety Nate Ness said. “Sammie Stroughter versus Devin Ross. Somebody was going to have to make a play. Sammie is the one who made it.”
The longest play of the game came after the Beavers took over at their 20 with 79 seconds left, no timeouts and needing at least a field goal to keep a possible trip to the Rose Bowl intact.
The Beavers found Jeremy Francis for a 20-yard reception to the 40 on the first play. Francis then came up for a six-yard catch.
Then Oregon State looked for Stroughter on a play similar to one James Rodgers dropped for a touchdown on the Beavers’ previous possession.
“When James Rodgers dropped that pass in the end zone no one got down on him, no one booed him,” Oregon State defensive end Victor Butler said.
Stroughter bailed Rodgers out on the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass with 3:58 remaining. A missed extra point left the Beavers trailing by one.
But Stroughter still had more work to do. He had to get Ross and the UA secondary to bite.
“They run different routes,” UA defensive coordinator Mark Stoops said. “I think Devin was looking for (something else) in those situations and they may have played off that.”
Oregon State needed a big play, and got one. The savvy and seasoned Beaver receiver beat Ross, praised almost weekly by UA coach Mike Stoops as one of the best cornerbacks in the Pac-10.
Stroughter finished with five catches for a game-high 116 yards.
“(Stroughter) is really good, with good hands, good speed,” Ross said. “I give him a lot of credit. He is fast.”
Beavers bite back in 4th
Arizona’s defense controlled Oregon State for the first three quarters, but couldn’t close the deal in the fourth:
Category After 3 4th Total
Score 10 9 19
1st downs 11 6 17
Rush yards 116 50 166
Pass yards 103 121 224
Total yards 219 171 390