Arizona 6, No. 6 Oklahoma 3
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ In the dark Friday night, Doug Pfaff walked back and forth across the turf of an empty Arizona Stadium, kicking make-believe field goals.
Saturday night, before nearly 51,000 people, he did it twice for real, and his 40-yarder with two seconds left gave Arizona a 6-3 upset win over No. 6 Oklahoma in an intersectional matchup dominated by defensive play. Both teams are 2-1.
″It’s a little visualization that I do every Friday night before a game,″ said Pfaff, a senior who has six field goals for the season.
″I come out here with John Nies, the punter and the holder, and we just kind of imagine what we’re going to do during the game ... imagine every kick, every punt being a great kick, and hey, it worked out great for us.″ The ball cleared the crossbar by about 3 yards. ″I knew I didn’t hit it in the sweet spot, but thank God, it just blew over,″ Pfaff said.
With the win, the Wildcats redeemed themselves after a 24-14 loss at Texas Tech to fall from No. 20.
Arizona’s defense gave up 222 yards rushing and none passing. The Sooners had averaged 428 yards on the ground, third best in the nation. Against Arizona, they squandered several offensive opportunities and lost the ball three times on fumbles.
Otis Taylor dropped an Arizona punt, recovered by Scott Geyer at the Oklahoma 22, to set up Pfaff’s 24-yard field goal just before halftime for a 3-0 Arizona lead.
The last Oklahoma fumbles halted drives to the Arizona 24 and 17 late in the third quarter and early in the final period, respectively.
The Wildcats rushed for 165 yards against an Oklahoma defense that had given up only 42 yards in each of its first two games, and had 214 yards total offense.
Quarterback Ronald Veal, who passed for 49 yards and rushed for 51, ran for 14 of them and Mario Hampton added 15 during a 12-play, 37-yard possession that ate up 5:15 of the final 5:17 and set up Pfaff’s winning kick.
Hampton’s 1-yard dive on fourth-and-one at the 50 kept the drive alive.
A 55-yard Veal touchdown pass to Melvin Smith was nullified by a holding penalty midway through the first half.
Arizona Coach Dick Tomey said Sunday, ″You just feel good when you win, and when you win one that’s hard-fought like that in the last minute, those feel the best. And when it’s against a quality opponent, they really feel good. It was really a good win.″
He said Arizona’s last possession ″was an incredible job of getting done what needed to be done. And against a team like Oklahoma, you just don’t see that done, because of their strength. Their defensive personnel is just absolutely incredible.″
Gary Gibbs, who lost a bid to become only the third Sooners’ coach to win his first three games, said, ″Arizona played an inspired football game″ and ″deserved to win.″
″Miscues were a disappointment. They gave life to Arizona,″ Gibbs said. ″Our missed opportunities were the biggest factor in the game.″
James Goode blocked a 45-yard Pfaff field goal attempt in the first quarter, and Sooners’ kicker R.D. Lashar missed on a 35-yard attempt in the second quarter after Arizona stopped a 52-yard Oklahoma drive, the only one in the first half, at the Wildcats’ 17.
Lashar’s 42-yarder midway in the third quarter after Oklahoma moved 44 yards to the Arizona 24 tied it at 3-3.
At that point, it appeared Oklahoma’s vaunted rushing attack, keyed by backs Mike Gaddis and Leon Perry, would wear down Arizona’s defense.
But safety Jeff Hammerschmidt, who had 15 tackles, said, ″We were bending but we didn’t break. It was one of those bend, bend, bend and then they fumble kind of games.″
After Chris Melson fumbled an Oklahoma snap with 12:21 left, the teams traded punts twice before the game-winning drive.
The Sooners had no pass completions on four Melson attempts, the first time since 1961 an Arizona opponent had no aerial yardage.Arizona, which lost to Oklahoma 28-10 last year in their only other meeting, held the Sooners to 3 points for second time in 65 games since a 1983 shutout by Missouri.
And the Wildcats became the first team to score on Oklahoma before intermission this year.
The Sooners, meanwhile, who had outscored their first two opponents 66-0 in the first half and had averaged 53 points a game, were held scoreless for their first half of the year.
Oklahoma is idle next week before beginning Big 8 play at Kansas, and Gibbs said, ″The week off will give us a chance to regroup and find senior leadership.″
Arizona, 1-0 in the Pacific-10 Conference, hosts No. 15 Washington, 2-0 after beating Purdue 38-9, in resuming league action.