TUCSON, Ariz — It was a night littered with mistakes. Lots of mistakes.
A school record for penalty yards. Four turnovers. Multiple dropped passes. A defense that could not stop Matt Scott and the Rich Rodriguez spread offense.
Oklahoma State fell to Arizona 59-38 in Tucson on Saturday night in a game where miscues stalled the offense, gave the Wildcats free yards and ultimately halted a fourth-quarter comeback attempt.
One moment in the first quarter seemed to ignite the string of missteps that plagued the No. 18 Cowboys (1-1) for the remainder of the night.
After a new quarterback-receiver connection, Wes Lunt-to-Tracy Moore, gave the Cowboys an early 14-0 lead, Calvin Barnett was called for two personal fouls on a play — a roughing the passer call and an unnecessary roughness call.
That 30-yard penalty led to a 15-yard touchdown pass from Scott to Richard Morrison and flipped momentum to the Wildcats.
Later, a fumble by Joseph Randle at the OSU 28 on the Cowboys' ensuing drive put Arizona in prime position for a field goal. Two holding penalties stalled OSU drives inside its 20-yard line. Two more OSU personal fouls — which contributed to the 167 total penalty yards — helped UA tack on 10 more points to propel it to a 23-14 lead at intermission.
A Ka'Deem Carey 13-yard touchdown catch on Arizona's opening drive of the third quarter gave the Wildcats 30 unanswered points.
And yet, the Cowboys still got the ball with a chance to take the lead early in the fourth quarter after Lunt directed three consecutive scoring drives to cut Arizona's lead to 37-31. But a mistake by Lunt — a 48-yard pick-six by Jonathan McKnight — essentially put the game away.
There were numerous questions following OSU's 84-0 rout of lowly Savannah State about if the Cowboys had gotten enough quality work to prepare for their first road contest of the season. The Cowboy starters were out of the game before the second quarter began, with most playing around 15 snaps.
Call it rust. Call it sloppiness. Call it a lack of discipline and execution. The Cowboys often didn't look ready to play.
Lunt completed 37 of his 60 passes and a Big 12 freshman-record 436 yards and four touchdowns — all to Moore. Joseph Randle added 123 yards on the ground.
Scott finished with 320 yards passing, while Carey finished with 126 yards rushing.