Nevada drops New Mexico Bowl 49-48 to Arizona

In charge nearly the entire way, Duke Williams and Nevada let
the New Mexico Bowl spin out of control at the end.

Matt Scott threw two short touchdown passes in the final 46
seconds and college football’s postseason started with a wild one
when Arizona recovered a late onside kick and rallied past the Wolf
Pack 49-48 Saturday.

Nevada led 21-0 in the first quarter and was ahead 45-28
entering the fourth period. The Wolf Pack (7-6) had a chance to
seal the win, but a hard-spinning kick bounced off Williams’ chest
and was covered by Arizona’s Marquis Flowers.

Scott then tossed a 2-yard TD pass to Tyler Slavin with 19
seconds left.

”You come down to the last 2 minutes or whatever it was and we
don’t make a play,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. ”It happened.
It’s reality.”

”You look at that and you feel, I’m just sick for those
seniors. There’s no question about it. I’m sick for this whole
football team. We had an opportunity to win a football game and we
didn’t,” he said.

Nevada led 48-35 with 1:48 left after Allen Hardison made a
25-yard field goal.

Arizona (8-5) quickly scored a touchdown, setting up the onside
try. Wildcats kicker John Bonano grounded it fast at Williams.

Earlier, Williams made an interception at the Wolf Pack 8. This
time, no such luck.

”The ball bounced 2 feet away from me,” he said. ”It was
coming hot. I just figured I’d make the play and when it counted, I
wasn’t able to make it. It was coming hot. The ball was coming real
fast. Two feet away from me, it bounced up, popped up and bounced
off my shoulder pad.”

Arizona was still 51 yards away from the end zone without a
timeout, Wolf Pack linebacker Albert Rosette pointed out.

”If we recover it, the game is over,” he said. ”They got it,
but they still have to go down and score a touchdown. They don’t
have any timeouts. The game is not over. We can still keep them out
of the end zone. It’s not like they can kick a field goal. It’s
hard to see them recover, but it wasn’t the game.”

Matt Scott hit Garic Wharton for 28 yards and Austin Hill for 21
yards. The Wildcats completed the improbable comeback with Scott’s
short throw to Slavin.

”They scored 14 points in less than 2 minutes,” Rosette said.
”I don’t know. I’m still in shock right now. We made some mistakes
there at the end. We still felt we were in it. We still felt that
we were going to win that game and to lose like that, it
hurts.”

Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo finished with 256 yards passing
and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 140 yards and another
score.

Wolf Pack running back Stefphon Jefferson gained 180 yards and
scored twice.

Two of Fajardo’s scoring tosses went to tight end Zach Sudfeld,
both in the first half as Nevada took a big lead.

Arizona came back behind running back Ka’Deem Carey, who
finished with 172 yards and three touchdowns. Scott threw for 382
yards and three scores and also ran for one.

”It was an unbelievable game,” Sudfeld said. ”Just the
momentum swings back and forth. Just big swings on both sides. It
was a crazy game to play in.”