When Arizona quarterback Matt Scott found receiver Tyler Slavin with 19 seconds left, the Wildcats put the finishing touches on an impressive comeback to stun Nevada 49-48 in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday.
Scott, a talented 6-foot-3 senior, completed two short touchdown throws in the final 46 seconds. Arizona recovered a late onside kick, and Scott led the Wildcats 51 yards in three plays for the winning score.
Nevada (7-6) forced three turnovers and took a 21-0 first-half lead, but couldn’t hold on.
What’s to love?
Offense! Tons of it. The two teams combined for 1,237 total yards, the second most in bowl history. Arizona stud running back Ka’Deem Carey — the nation’s leading rusher — gained 172 yards, while Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson — the nation’s second-leading rusher — went off for 180. Scott and Wolfpack dual-threat quarterback Cody Fajardo combined for 638 passing yards and six scores. Yep, offense.
What’d we learn?
The future is bright in Tuscon under Rich Rodriguez, who finished 8-5 in his first season at Arizona’s helm. The Wildcats currently have the fourth-ranked 2013 recruiting class in the Pac-12, according to Scout.com. With a solid foundation in place, Arizona could be a challenge to USC and UCLA in the South next fall.
”You come down to the last two minutes or whatever it was and we don’t make a play,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. ”It happened. It’s reality.”
Nevada safety Duke Williams, projected as a fourth- to fifth-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by some publications, made six tackles and returned an interception 27 yards. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Williams finished the year with 106 stops, including 5.5 for a loss.
Until next year
Carey has firmly established himself as one of the country’s best running backs and will surely be an early Heisman Trophy candidate for 2013. After finishing his sophomore season with 1,929 yards and 23 TDs, it’s clear Arizona has a good one to lead its high-powered attack.