At one point Saturday night — and early in the third quarter — a Cowboys stat watch went out.
Not for so much offense, like in recent years.
The Cowboys had nine penalties in the first half for 110 yards. The single-game school record for penalty yards: 152, dubiously set against Houston in 1970. Eventually, these Cowboys got there, finishing with 15 for 167 yards.
Calvin Barnett (who may have set the school record for penalty yards by a player), was flagged for 30 yards on one play — one major momentum changing play.
With the Cowboys leading 14-0 and Arizona facing a second-and-5 from its own 30, Barnett was called for a personal foul on a blow to the head of Wildcats quarterback Matt Scott, then for unnecessary roughness when he bulled Scott from on top of him.
Tacked onto the end of a gain, the penalties moved the ball to the Cowboys 30 and Arizona scored five plays later. And kept scoring — 30 unanswered points — before OSU scored again.
The Cowboys accumulated four personal foul penalties in the first half and Barnett was hit with another in the second half.
The yellow flags weren't the only signs of trouble for OSU. Wes Lunt's fourth-quarter interception, returned by Jonathan McKnight for a touchdown, halted the Cowboys' comeback. Lunt finished with three interceptions, although one came when a receiver tripped and fell and another went off a receiver's hands. A Joseph Randle fumble and several dropped passes also contributed to troubles.
The Cowboys have been a strong road team in recent years, going 10-2 since 2010.
The two losses, however, have come in OSU's last two true road games: at Iowa State last November and at Arizona on Saturday night.
The Cowboys don't play away from home again until Oct. 13, at Kansas.
TRACY MOORE RETURNS
After sitting out the season opener against Savannah State under one-game suspension, Tracy Moore made his return against Arizona — in a big way.
Moore started the game and caught eight passes for 106 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.
The senior wideout entered the game with just eight career touchdown grabs. Moore totaled four TDs a year ago, his best season as a Cowboy.
CHALLENGING SITUATION BENEFITS OSU
During his tenure as head coach, Mike Gundy hasn't been known to challenge many official calls.
Gundy did against the Wildcats — and won.
Noticing that Arizona substituted late with the Cowboys playing in fast-tempo mode, Gundy took the opportunity to challenge, sending a review to the replay booth with a timeout at stake.
The booth official confirmed Gundy's claim, resulting in a 5-yard penalty that wiped out four-yard loss and kept a touchdown drive alive.
LUNT SETS RECORDS
In just his second game as a Cowboy, Lunt set freshman single-game passing records for yards (436) and completions (37) and tied the overall school record for attempts (60) in a game.
Lunt broke Aso Pogi's record of 328 yards set against Iowa State in 2000. Pogi was a redshirt freshman when he completed 26 of 45 attempts against the Cyclones.
Lunt also broke the true freshman yardage record of 275 set by Gundy in 1986 against Kansas.
His 60 throws tied Brandon Weeden's 60 attempts against Texas A&M last year.
SCOUTING AHEAD: LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE
OSU returns to Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday to face Louisiana-Lafayette in an 11 a.m. kickoff.
ULL improved to 2-0 Saturday with a 37-24 win over Troy, despite losing quarterback Blaine Gautier to a first quarter rib injury. Terrance Broadway stepped in to lead the win, throwing for 143 yards and a touchdown.
Alonzo Harris ran for 137 yards and a score.
The Ragin' Cajuns, who lost at OSU a year ago, finished 9-4 and won the New Orleans Bowl.
* Cowboys backup linebacker Lyndell Johnson missed the game with an apparent ankle injury suffered during pregame warmup. Johnson wore a protective boot and was on the sideline in street clothes, using crutches.
* Arizona's 59 points scored were its most since 2008.
* Lunt completed his first pass of the night, then had his career-opening streak of completions ended there — at 12 — when he misfired on his next throw. Lunt went 11-for-11 against Savannah State.
* Fiesta Bowl officials attended the game, including executive director Robert Shelton.