Albuquerque, NM, United States (4E Sports) – Matt Scott hit tight end Terrence Miller with the game-winning two-yard touchdown heave as Arizona bounced back from a 21-point deficit to beat Nevada, 49-48, and capture the New Mexico Bowl Saturday at University Stadium.
The New Mexico Bowl victory was the Wildcats’ first postseason win since defeating the BYU Cougars in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2008.
Scott completed 27 of 45 passes for 369 yards and threw all of his three touchdown passes in the fourth period and the Wildcats’ defense had the Wolf Pack wilting under pressure, scoring just a field goal in the final 15 minutes of the game after a dominant first quarter.
Scott also rushed for a touchdown while sophomore running back Ka’deem Carey ran for 171 yards on 28 carries and kept the Wildcats early in the game with three touchdowns while Scott was still finding his mark.
Sophomore wide receiver Austin Hill caught two of Scott’s touchdown heaves and finished with 179 yards on nine catches, David Richards tallied 65 yards on six catches and Marquis Flowers had a key interception with 19 seconds left in the game to seal the victory.
Cody Fajardo completed 22 of 31 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns but had two interceptions. He also rushed for 139 yards on 22 carries and a scoring run for the Wolf Pack, who fell to 7-6 and are now 1-6 in their last seven bowl game appearances.
Running back Stefphon Jefferson tallied 164 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns while
Zach Sudfeld caught two touchdown passes from Fajardo.
Fajardo outplayed Scott for most of the game, throwing two touchdown passes in the first period to give the Wolf Pack an early 21-0 lead.
The huge deficit resulted in an exchange of punches between two frustrated Wildcats defensive players Tevin Hood and linebacker Cody Ippolito.
Hood connected with a roundhouse eight to Ippolito, who responded by throwing a couple of punches before they were separated by teammates.
Both players were sent back to the locker room at separate times while the first half was still going on and were removed from the game.
The brawl woke up Arizona’s offense as it tied the count at 21 with two rushing scores from Carey and another from Scott.
However, Jefferson delivered a 14-yard scoring run and Allen Hardison buried a 27-yard field goal against a nine-yard rushing score by Carey to put the Wolf Pack ahead, 31-28 at the break.
It was all Wolf Pack in the third quarter as Fajardo tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Richy Turner and ran for a score to grab a 45-28 advantage heading into the fourth period.
However, Scott found Hill twice and Miller once for touchdowns to spark the comeback.