Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Wildcats Fall to Ohio State, 27-17
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: September 10, 2000
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    AP Sports Writer

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) (Sept. 9, 2000) -- Steve Bellisari passed for two touchdowns, including a 60-yarder to Chad Cacchio, and No. 18 Ohio State rallied to beat Arizona 27-17 on September 9.

    Arizona's Ortege Jenkins runs away from the attempted tackle by Ohio State's Mike Doss in the first quarter. (AP Photo/John Miller)
    Nate Clements set up another score with a 47-yard punt return late in the third quarter, and Dan Stultz kicked two field goals as the Buckeyes (2-0) went up 3-1 in the series in their first visit to Arizona Stadium.

    Ortege Jenkins ran for one TD and passed to Bobby Wade for another as Arizona (1-1) took a 17-10 halftime lead.

    But Ohio State's defense, which scored four times in a rout of Fresno State the week before, was virtually impenetrable again, sacking Jenkins eight times and forcing the Wildcats to punt 12 times.

    The outcome swung on back-to-back possessions by the Buckeyes in the third quarter.

    They were having difficulty moving until Bellisari took to the air, hitting Ken-Yon Rambo for 8- and 11-yard completions to the 40. On the next play, he went downfield to Cacchio, who ran under the ball at the 8 and into the end zone, tying the score at 17 midway through the third quarter.

    Ohio State held, and Bellisari, who had a 1-yard scoring throw to Tim Cheatwood in the second quarter, set up a 1-yard scoring run by Jonathan Wells with a 46-yard pass to Reggie Germany to the Arizona 2.

    Bellisari was 12-of-20 for 240 yards, throwing one interception.

    Arizona's Leo Mills is tackeled by Ohio State's Donnie Nickey and Ryan Pickett in the second quarter. (AP Photo/John Miller)
    Most of the action in the second quarter revolved around Wade.

    The sophomore hurt his left knee fielding a punt 4:39 into the period, and was on the grass for minutes before finally limping off.

    But he was back to return the next punt 85 yards for a score that was wiped out by a holding call against the Wildcats.

    After two plays gained 3 yards, Jenkins passed to Wade in the left flat. Wade stepped upfield to dodge a tackler, ran across the field to evade another six Buckeyes who were within arm's length and raced down the right side to complete a 60-yard scoring play.

    Jenkins ran in a 2-point conversion, giving Arizona 10 points in 1 1/2 minutes and a 17-10 lead with 6:11 left in the half.

    Ohio State's Derek Combs can't get away from the tackle of Arizona's Michael Jolivette in the first quarter. (AP Photo/John Miller)
    The Buckeyes led 10-7 until Bellisari's pitch went past an unsuspecting Derek Combs, who had to outrun Arizona defenders to cover it in the end zone for a safety with 7:29 to play.

    Both schools finished the 1998 season with bowl victories, slid to 6-6 last season and won their openers a week ago with the aid of defensive touchdowns.

    This time, the similarities continued as each team got its first score after a muffed punt.

    Malosi Leonard was waiting when Ohio State's Nate Clements dropped a punt. Leonard recovered on the 9-yard line, and Jenkins scored from the 10 on the second snap, rolling left and splitting a seam with 6:41 left in the first quarter.

    Ohio State's Ken-Yon Rambo is hauled down for a loss by Arizona's Antonio Pierce. (AP Photo/John Miller)
    The Buckeyes scored on a 26-yard field goal by Stultz 3:32 later after Wade muffed a punt and Curtis Crosby recovered, and went ahead at 10-7 after a 74-yard drive late in the quarter.

    Bellisari capped the drive with a 1-yard flip to Cheatwood, his tight end 49 seconds into the second quarter. But the key plays in the 74-yard march were his 13-yard pass to Rambo and a 44-yard grab by Vanness Provitt, who reached behind cornerback David Hinton to pull in the ball as both sprawled to the field at the 8.

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