For the first month of their charmed season, the Arizona Wildcats played stout defense, made wise decisions and summoned just enough fourth-quarter magic to win close games.
Saturday night, they went 0 for 3 - and paid for it.
Quarterback Ryan Katz completed 30 of 42 passes for 393 yards and two touchdowns as Oregon State dispatched the No. 9 ranked Wildcats 29-27 before a sellout crowd of 56,054 at Arizona Stadium.
The loss will certainly knock the UA (4-1, 1-1 Pac-10) out of the nation's top 10 and slow what appeared to be a promising run at a Pac-10 title.
Coach Mike Stoops called the game "tough in a lot of ways."
"When you look at the entire game, we just weren't all there," he said.
Saturday's game was the kind of yardage bonanza that Pac-10 fanatics love. The teams combined for 1,027 yards and eight touchdowns.
Three wide receivers - Arizona's Juron Criner and Oregon State's Markus Wheaton and James Rodgers - finished with more than 100 receiving yards. Rodgers would have certainly had more, but he was carried off the field in the second quarter after suffering a left knee injury. He watched the rest of the game in street clothes, using crutches.
The most incredible stats came from the losing team. Quarterback Nick Foles threw for 440 yards and three touchdowns; the Wildcats gained 541 yards while mounting scoring drives of 57, 66, 66 and 80 yards.
"We had moments where we played well and got into rhythm," Foles said, "But for the most part, we didn't."
The Wildcats were done in by tiny mistakes. Place-kicker Alex Zendejas missed a 37-yard field goal just before halftime and had a PAT blocked.
Foles was intercepted in the end zone during the second quarter on a pass that Criner should have caught. The Wildcats punted on fourth-and-three from midfield late in the game only to watch OSU march for a touchdown.
The Beavers converted on 10 of 15 third-down situations; three times, Katz scrambled on broken plays for first downs.
Defensive end Ricky Elmore said Arizona "should have been more prepared" for OSU's attack.
"That's not the type of defense we are," he said. "When you hit a guy in the face, and then he throws for 30 yards it drains you, but you have to bounce back."
Linebacker Paul Vassallo said Arizona has "been pretty spot-on defensively all year, so it's disappointing."
"No one said anything or did anything differently," he said. "We just didn't do what we needed to do."
Katz led a Beavers offense that racked up 486 total yards despite playing the entire second half without Rodgers.
Every time Arizona got close to taking a lead, the Beavers separated themselves with a long drive and a score. OSU (3-2, 2-0) never trailed.
Keola Antolin's 33-yard touchdown run cut Oregon State's lead to four points just after halftime, but OSU stretched its lead back with an 11-play, 65-yard drive.
Nicolas Grigsby cut into the Beavers' edge with a 41-yard catch-and-run from Foles, only to watch OSU's Jacquizz Rodgers plunge in from 1 yard out.
Even when Antolin's 12-yard touchdown catch cut Oregon State's lead to 29-27 with 1 minute 52 seconds remaining, the Beavers stayed confident.
OSU recovered Arizona's onside kick and ran three plays before punting through the back of the end zone with 2 seconds left.
Arizona would have one play to go 80 yards. With their defense devastated and their poor decisions exposed, all the Wildcats had left was fourth-quarter magic.
Foles took the snap and threw a short slant to Juron Criner, who ran for 16 yards before pitching to Travis Cobb, who rushed for another 14.
The fans inside Arizona Stadium stood and, sensing a big play, cheered - only to watch Cobb get tackled 50 yards short of the end zone.
There would be no miracle - only talk of missed opportunities and an upcoming game at hapless Washington State.
"We have to learn from this loss and see where we are as a team," Elmore said. "We go up to Washington State now, and we'll see how we finish."
• What: Arizona at Washington St.
• When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday
• TV: Versus
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM