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College football: Oregon gets pushed around up front by winless Arizona, but get five picks to turn back upset bid.

Big picture: The Ducks were pushed to the brink by a team that has now lost 16 consecutive games. If not for five interceptions, including two with Arizona in scoring position, the result might have been a shocking loss. This game raises questions about the Ducks at the line of scrimmage, one place you'd expect a Mario Cristobal squad to play with pride.

Most concerning was the way Arizona controlled the line of scrimmage, especially against Oregon's defensive front. The Ducks D was on the field almost the entire third quarter. With a trip to Stanford coming next week, figure Oregon's defense will be facing more power football.

And, with Kayvon Thibodeaux limited (Coach Mario Cristobal said Thibodeaux did not re-injure his ankle and should be more available next week), it's fair to ask if Oregon is good enough to compete for a conference title if its best player doesn't play.

Notable numbers: Arizona outgained Oregon 435-393, ran for 202 yards, rolled up 32 first downs, converted all four fourth downs and ran 33 more offensive plays than the Ducks (88-55). … QB Anthony Brown Jr. attempted 12 runs (for 43 yards/3.4 per carry), more than CJ Verdell's 11 (for 45 yards). … Five interceptions of Arizona QB Jordan McCloud saved the night for the Ducks.

Reaction: Of all the questions this game raises, one has to be whether Cristobal and his staff — who certainly warned the team about overlooking a conference opponent — can get that message through to a team of young, highly-recruited players.

In his postgame comments, Cristobal said he liked the way his team started the game and finished the game, not so much the middle quarters.

Cristobal said Brown kept the ball on option runs "probably a couple more times than we thought he would be. But, that's always going to be part of the plan. We run the quarterback. He's a big guy. He's a physical guy. And he likes it, it gets him going."

Cristobal on improving the run defense: "We didn't do a very good job — didn't set edges consistently enough. … Then in the third quarter where (Arizona had) some chunk yardage right up the gut. It's technique. It's physicality. We're gonna be real honest with our guys and go to work and to make sure that everything we do is geared towards betterment and improvement. … Bottom line is we got to coach it better. We got to demand it more from each other and get it done."

Up next: Oregon at Stanford, 12:30 p.m. Oct. 2 (ABC/KATU).


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