No. 14 Arizona forces six turnovers, rallies to beat No. 12 Oklahoma in Alamo Bowl
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Gunner Maldonado returned a fumble 87 yards for a touchdown and also had an interception as No. 14 Arizona forced six turnovers in a 38-24 comeback victory over No. 12 Oklahoma on Thursday night in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
Noah Fifita threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns for Arizona (10-3). The Wildcats closed with seven straight victories as they depart the Pac-12 to join the Big 12 next season. Leaving the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference, Oklahoma also finished 10-3.
Tetairoa McMillan had 10 receptions for 160 yards for Arizona.
Oklahoma freshman Jackson Arnold threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns, but also had three interceptions in his first career start. Arnold started in place of Dillon Gabriel, who is transferring to Oregon after throwing for 3,660 yards and 30 touchdowns this season.
Sooners running back Gavin Sawchuk rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Arnold opened the game 3 for 8 with two interceptions before settling in behind the running game.
With Arizona holding a 13-0 lead, Sawchuk scored on an 18-yard rushing touchdown.
Oklahoma took a 14-13 lead when Arnold scrambled to his left to escape heavy pressure and tossed a 10-yard pass to a sliding Nic Anderson in the left corner of the end zone. The touchdown was set up by a 62-yard run by Sawchuk and 19-yard carry by Arnold.
Arnold’s second pass of the game was intercepted by freshman safety Genesis Smith, who jumped the route at the 35-yard line for his first career pick.
Fifita tossed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Cowing on the ensuing play to give Arizona a 10-0 lead with 4:27 into the game.
Arnold’s second interception of the first quarter came when Maldonado ran from the right hashmark to step in front of the receiver and then tapped both feet inbounds.
Arizona had 181 yards in the first quarter to Oklahoma’s 36.
Arizona: The young tandem of Fifita and McMillan continued to dazzle, especially early. McMillan had 74 yards receiving in the first quarter on five catches off six targets.
Oklahoma: Arnold demonstrated at times why he was the 2022 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year at Guyer High School in Denton, but it was also apparent he had never started in college. Arnold stared down his receivers at times and floated passes, which led to the three interceptions.
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football