TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – Jake Luton threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns, Jermar Jefferson ran for three more scores and Oregon State sliced through Arizona’s listless defense for a 56-38 victory on Saturday.
Arizona (4-5, 2-3 Pac-12) fired defensive coordinator Marcel Yates this week, replacing him with former NFL assistant coach Chuck Cecil.
The coordinator change changed little on the field.
Oregon State (4-4, 3-2) manhandled the Wildcats up front while churning out big plays, scoring 35 points by halftime and racking up 572 total yards.
Luton finished 20 of 26 and threw two TD passes to Isaiah Hodges, who had seven catches for 150 yards.
Grant Gunnell threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats, who have lost four straight.
Arizona fired Yates and linebackers coach John Rushing this week after allowing 132 combined points in three straight losses. The Wildcats were 118th in scoring defense and 119th defense heading into Saturday’s game.
The trend continued.
Luton hit Hodges on a 21-yard TD pass on the Beavers’ opening drive and a wide-open Noah Togiai for a 23-yard score to close the first half. Jefferson scored on TD runs of 1 and 5 yards, and Artavis Pierce added a 4-yard TD run.
Oregon State had 385 yards and a 35-19 lead by halftime.
Jefferson scored on 5-yard run to open the second half and Luton’s 25-yard TD pass to Hodges put the Beavers up 49-31 in the fourth quarter.
Arizona’s offense tried to keep pace.
Gunnell found Gary Brightwell on a swing pass that turned into a 38-yard touchdown with the help of a key block by receiver Cedric Peterson.
J.J. Taylor scored on a 3-yard run to cap a drive pushed along by four Oregon State personal foul penalties – two each for facemask and roughing the passer.
Arizona twice had to settle for field goals after driving inside the Beavers’ 10-yard line, the first after Taylor had a TD run negated by a holding call.
Peterson turned a short pass over the middle into a winding 35-yard touchdown early in the third quarter and Brightwell scored on a 10-yard run.
Taylor added a 2-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to pull the Wildcats with 49-38, but Oregon State continued to gouge their defense to put it away.
Oregon State had built some momentum in the second half of the season, now needing two wins to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.
Arizona’s defense is in disarray, leaving the Wildcats spiraling away from bowl contention after opening the season 4-1.
Oregon State hosts Washington on Friday.
Arizona plays at No. 7 Oregon on Nov. 16.