Arizona Wildcats quarterback Matt Scott said he wasn’t sure what had happened. But it sure was good.
He had taken a helmet-to-helmet hit after completing a short pass in the first quarter and then he was on the ground, entangled with 299-pound Oklahoma State defensive lineman Calvin Barnett.
Scott’s left leg was draped on the back of Barnett, who was on his knees. As the players wrestled a bit, Barnett stood up, taking Scott with him and then tossing him to the ground.
Thank you, very much. That’s another 15-yard personal foul penalty.
“It was like a WWF move or something,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said after his team’s 59-38 upset of the Cowboys. “I don’t know what the heck was going on there. I’m glad Matt kept his composure because he’s a competitor.”
At that point, 18th-ranked Oklahoma State led 14-0 and was threatening to dominate the Wildcats as it did in 2010 and 2011. And then came Barnett’s rare double major penalty.
“We were kind of going at it a little,” Scott said of the scuffle on the ground.
“I wasn’t too happy he hit me after the play, and he wasn’t too happy that I was kind of messing with him. They called a couple of penalties on him, though, so it worked out in our favor. It was a big play for us.”
The 10-yard pass to Richard Morrison, plus the 30 yards in penalties, moved the ball from the Arizona 30 to the Oklahoma State 30 and flipped momentum. Arizona made sure the gift didn’t go to waste, converting a third-and-7 on a pass to Morrison and finishing the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass, also to Morrison.
That kick-started a 30-0 run for the Wildcats.
“He fired us up,” running back Ka’Deem Carey said of Barnett.
Barnett’s foolishness — “That’s trying to be more of a man than a football player,” chided Pac-12 Network analyst Glenn Parker on the telecast — set the tone and led the way for a silly, sloppy night for Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys committed 15 penalties for 167 yards, the most in school history. Those 167 yards were also a record by a UA opponent, eclipsing the 154 yards Cal had in the 1998 game.
Barnett even had another personal foul penalty in the second half.
Arizona had only 27 yards in penalties and did not commit a turnover. Oklahoma State turned the ball over four times.
“I’m giving Arizona credit,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy, “but we gave them 167 yards in penalties and four turnovers. It was bad football.”
Congrats to @coachrodaz and his AZ football team for huge win over #18 Oklahoma St!Nice beginning to a new era!
— Dan Hicks (@DanHicksNBC) September 9, 2012