Oct 6, 2001
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. - For one night at least, no one was calling seventh-ranked Oregon overrated.
Joey Harrington threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more as the Ducks beat Arizona 63-28 Saturday night to improve to 5-0 and match their best start in 37 years.
It was the Ducks' first blowout victory after struggling in its first four wins.
"It was fun. We had fun for the first time in a long time," Harrington said. "We didn't worry about what people were saying. People were talking in the papers about how we didn't deserved to be ranked where we were. We just went out and had fun and put a game together."
Harrington, 19-2 as a starter, completed 15 of 24 passes for 279 yards, then sat out the fourth quarter.
Coach Mike Bellotti wasn't ready to call it a breakthrough victory, though.
"In some aspects it was," Bellotti said. "I still think there's room for improvement. We have to find a way to improve every single game. That's been our battle cry."
Onterrio Smith rushed for 131 yards in 15 carries and scored two touchdowns for Oregon (2-0 Pac-10). Maurice Morris gained 110 yards in 21 attempts and scored once as the Ducks rolled up 607 yards, 472 in the first three quarters.
The Wildcats (3-2, 0-2), in their first season under coach John Mackovic, have allowed 111 points in consecutive home losses to Washington State and Oregon.
"Embarrassing," Arizona's Bobby Wade said. "We expected to give Oregon a way better game that we did."
Arizona has lost seven consecutive Pac-10 games, and Mackovic said the Wildcats just don't have enough talent.
"It's tough for us, and it's going to be tough for us until we get some personnel playing in here," he said. "We don't have a lot of personnel."
The Ducks tied their team record for points in a Pac-10 game. They scored 63 against Stanford in 1998. It was the most points given up by Arizona in a Pac-10 game.
Samie Parker caught a career-high six passes for 160 yards, all in the first half.
Wesly Mallard intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble for the Ducks, who turned all five of the Wildcats' turnovers into touchdowns.
"Early in the year, we were getting turnovers but we weren't getting anything out of them," Bellotti said. "Today, they translated into points, and that's what good teams do."
Clarence Farmer rushed for 158 yards in 15 carries. His 78-yard run set up a Wildcats' touchdown that tied the game 14-14 with 13:43 to play in the first half. Oregon scored the next 49 points in just over two quarters.
Jason Johnson was 7-of-18 for 132 yards and two touchdowns for Arizona (3-2, 0-2) before being pulled from the game after throwing an interception, the first of three third-quarter turnovers by the Wildcats.
Harrington completed 14 of 19 passes for 267 yards for three touchdowns in the first half as Oregon scored the last 21 points of the second quarter to take a 35-14 lead the break. He scored the Ducks' other two first-half touchdowns on runs of 1 and 2 yards.
Harrington said the only time he was hit hard by the defense came in the end zone after a touchdown, a play that led to a personal foul penalty against Arizona.
"Joey Harrington's a good player," Mackovic said, "but we didn't really give much of a test really."
Harrington was intercepted for the first time in 95 attempts on Oregon's first possession, a pass that bounced off Parker and was picked off by Jarvie Worcester.
After Oregon took a 14-0 lead, Johnson connected with Brandon Marshall on a 44-yard touchdown play, then Farmer's long run set up Johnson's 8-yard scoring pass that tied it at 14.
Arizona tried an onside kick and would have recovered it, but a Wildcats player touched the ball just before it went the required 10 yards. The Ducks quickly went 45 yards in five plays, Harrington scoring on a 2-yard run to put Oregon back on top for 21-14 with 11:39 still left in the first half.
Harrington's perfect 38-yard touchdown pass to a streaking Parker made it 28-14 with 6:09 left in the half. Harrington's 17-yard scoring pass to Justin Peelle gave the Ducks a 35-14 lead 1:21 before halftime.
Third-string quarterback John Rattay directed Arizona to two fourth-quarter touchdowns against Oregon's reserves.