TUCSON--Oregon State's defense proved to be too much for Arizona to overcome especially in the closing moments and the Wildcats fell, 17-10, in Pac-10 action Saturday night before a Family Weekend crowd of 57,113.
UA had the ball and a chance to tie, moving into OSU territory with less than a minute remaining, but the Beavers' pass pressure sacked Wildcat quarterback Kris Heavner to force a hurried play, and on a desperation throw with time running out Heavner threw his second interception of the game, with Daniel Drayton picking off the throw near the goal line as time expired.
It was much the same much of the night, although the Cats' defense performed well, too. UA managed only 13 first downs and 183 yards in total offense, but had trouble on third down (2 for 12) and wasn't able to capitalize on some solid opportunities. OSU rushed for 151 yards led by Yvenson Bernard's 107 yards and quarterback Matt Moore completed 16 of 22 throws for 181 yards and a score. One key was OSU's 11 tackles for loss, three of those sacks.
Heavner finished with 17 completions in 26 attempts for 161 yards, while UA's leading rusher was Chris Henry with 19 net yards on 9 carries. Syndric Steptoe scored UA's only touchdown on a special teams' play, returning a third-quarter punt 67 yards to breathe some life into the Cats. Henry was the leading receiver with a career-high eight grabs for 87 yards.
UA's lost fumble in the first quarter on a center-quarteback exchange set up OSU's first score, while UA's three turnovers gained did not lead to any points. UA had average starting field position at its own 35-yard line while UA punter Nick Folk helped hold OSU to average field position at its own 26, thanks in part to a career-best 78-yard punt in the second half. UA's offense suffered from six three-and-out possessions.
Oregon State drove 94 yards in 10 plays to open the scoring on its first possession, capped by a Matt Moore touchdown throw of 34 yards to Sammie Stroughter. Moore complete all four of his passes on the drive, and Yvenson Bernard carried the rushing load for OSU, with five carries for 20 yards.
OSU drove into Arizona territory on the next possession, but Moore was intercepted by UA nickel back Marcus Hollingsworth on the UA 20. The Cats drove to midfield, but Heavner mishandled a snap and OSU's Joey LaRocque recovered to set up the Beavers for a short-field drive. Moore led OSU to another score, plunging in from the 1-yard line to extend the lead.
Arizona linebacker Dane Krogstad picked off his first pass a short while later, returning it 29 yards to the OSU 13 yard-line, but the Beavers' defense stiffened in the red zone, holding Arizona to 12 yards in the next eight plays and forcing the Cats to give up the ball on downs when Heavner's 4th-and-goal pass attempt to Brad Wood was incomplete.
The Cats held OSU on the next three plays, forcing its first punt of the day and after Syndric Steptoe's fair catch at the 45-yard line, Arizona drove 32 yards in five plays to set up a 30-yard field goal by Nick Folk to put UA on the scoreboard in the closing moments of the half.
Steptoe took a punt back 67 yards for a touchdown with about seven minutes left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 14-10.
Both teams tightened on defense for a couple of exchanges, but the Beavers drove 84 yards in 11 plays to set up Lou Groza Award winner Alexis Serna for an 18-yard field goal to give OSU a 17-10 lead at the 7:26 mark in the fourth quarter.