6 turnovers doom Sooners in Alamo Bowl loss to Arizona
SAN ANTONIO — No. 12 Oklahoma led 24-13 late in the third quarter, but No. 14 Arizona scored 25 straight points to win the Valero Alamo Bowl 38-24 Thursday night at the Alamodome.
Gavin Sawchuk rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown and true freshman quarterback Jackson Arnold completed 26-of-45 passes for 361 yards and two TDs in his first career start. Arnold, whose passing yardage total was the second highest by an OU freshman in a bowl game, also rushed 11 times for 38 yards.
The Sooners (10-3) committed six turnovers (three interceptions and three fumbles), and the Wildcats (10-3) took advantage, scoring 28 points off those takeaways.
OU was out-gained 154 to 30 in total yardage in the first quarter but posted 532 yards to Arizona’s 229 the remainder of the game. OU totaled 562 yards of offense (361 passing , 201 rushing) and averaged a season-best 5.9 yards per rush. The Sooners limited a Wildcats’ team that entered the contest averaging 148.9 rushing yards per game to just 29 rushing yards on the night.
Arizona scored on each of its first two possessions and three of its first four, building a 10-0 lead after the first quarter and a 13-0 lead with 13:05 remaining in the second period. OU, however, scored touchdowns on an 18-yard rush by Sawchuk and a 10-yard pass from Arnold to Nic Anderson to take a 14-13 lead into halftime.
The Sooners put together a methodical 10-play, 75yard drive to get on the scoreboard, then drove 92 yards in six plays to take the lead. Sawchuk tore off a 62-yard run, and Arnold followed three plays later with a season-long 19-yard rush that helped set up the touchdown pass to Anderson.
OU opened the third quarter with a two-play scoring drive that culminated in a 63-yard touchdown pass from Arnold to Brenen Thompson and extended the lead to 21-13. The scoring strike was OU’s longest touchdown pass of the season and tied for the team’s longest passing play.
On their next possession, the Sooners drove to the Arizona 4, but settled for a 22-yard Zach Schmit field goal that made the score 2413 with 6:59 to play in the third quarter.
Following Arizona’s second-quarter field goal, OU stopped the Wildcats on six consecutive possessions (cornerback Kani Walker’s first career interception and five straight punts). OU outscored Arizona 24-11 in the second and third quarters and held a 447 to 99 advantage in total yardage over the two middle periods.
Late in the third quarter, the Sooners drove to the Arizona 23 but fumbled at the Arizona 13 that was returned 87 yards by Gunner Maldonado for a touchdown. With the two-point conversion, the Wildcats cut OU’s lead to 24-21.
On the Sooners’ next possession, Arizona intercepted a pass at the OU 34 and kicked a 37yard field goal to tie the game 24-all.
The Wildcats took a 31-24 lead on a 57-yard pass from Noah Fifita to Jacob Cowing with 5:28 remaining.
Following an Arnold fumble on a sack, Arizona scored on a 19-yard rush by D.J. Williams to make the score 38-24 with 2:56 to go.
Anderson, who established an OU freshman record with his 10 touchdown receptions this season, notched 73 yards on seven receptions. He ended the season with 798 receiving yards, which stands as the second most ever by an OU freshman (CeeDee Lamb holds the record with 807 yards in 2017).
In his final collegiate game, Drake Stoops registered 82 yards on six receptions. It was his 22nd consecutive game with a pass catch and 21st straight with multiple receptions. He finished his Sooners career tied for ninth in program history in catches (164) and ranked 12th in touchdown receptions (17) and 13th in receiving yards (1,876).
Thompson notched a team-high 83 yards on two receptions and Sawchuk added 42 yards on three catches.
Punter Luke Elzinga averaged 50.5 yards on his four punts, including a long of 58, and three were downed inside the 15-yard line. Schmit made all three of his extrapoint attempts and has converted all 124 of his career PAT attempts, which stands as the fourth-longest streak in school history.
The OU defense registered five sacks (its most since the Texas game when it also had five) and 11 tackles for loss (its most since the Central Florida game when it had 13).
Fifita completed 24-of-38 passes for 354 yards and two touchdowns for Arizona. Cowing caught seven passes for 152 yards and two TDs and Tetairoa McMillan had 10 catches for 160 yards.