The Cowboys won with ease, and several parts of their game were excellent. But there were enough problems to keep Mike Gundy's staff busy correcting next week.
FIRST-QUARTER OFFENSE: A
The Cowboys had 216 total yards and 11 first downs in the first quarter alone. Four plays into the second quarter, OSU led 21-0.
FULLHOUSE BACKFIELD: B
The Cowboys' “Cross” formation was effective much of the game. With Joe Randle lined up behind quarterback Brandon Weeden and running backs on each side of Weeden, the Cowboys scored two touchdowns, one on a fade pass to Justin Blackmon. The formation didn't always produce spectacular results but kept ‘Zona off balance. OSU would go from an empty backfield one play to a fullhouse backfield the next.
The black jerseys and black pants, fast becoming a Thursday night tradition, were sharp-looking, and the numbers were much easier to read. Big improvement over the grays of last week. But for the second straight week, it was the traditional white helmet. Time to see the new black or gray helmet.
RULES KNOWLEDGE: D
The Cowboys were penalized twice for illegal chop blocks, leading to 90 yards of penalties against OSU. Gundy admitted he and his coaches didn't fully understand the chop block rule. No excuse for that.
KICKING GAME: C
The Cowboys committed three major penalties on kick returns, and Quinn Sharp missed an extra point (off a low snap) and a 42-yard field goal. Gundy termed the kicking game “terrible. That's not like us.” But Sharp's three punts averaged 54 yards, and four of his seven kickoffs were touchbacks, with no Arizona return going past the UofA 22-yard line. And don't forget Sharp's 23-yard run off a fake punt, which turned momentum.
PROGRAM COVER: D
The cover boys were senior safeties Markelle Martin and Johnny Thomas. Good idea – last week. But Thomas was ruled academically ineligible last week, and his appeal was denied this week. Because of the Thursday game, the program deadlines were expedited. Clearly, OSU officials were confident Thomas would be cleared to play. But it didn't happen.
RUN DEFENSE: A
Arizona tailbacks gained 41 yards on 19 carries. The Wildcats ran five times on third down but made just one first down.
PAC-12 PASSION: D
Arizona's fan contingent appeared to number less than 1,000. We keep hearing about a lack of football frenzy in the Pac-12. The evidence mounted that it's true.
SHARING THE BALL: A
Weeden completed passes to nine receivers in the first half alone. By game's end, 11 Cowboys had caught passes and 14 had either caught a pass or ran the ball.