Monday, December 17, 2012

College Football: Arizona overcomes Nevada 49-48 in New Mexico Bowl / Utah State routs Toledo 41-15 in Idaho Potato Bowl

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Matt Scott watched helplessly as Nevada kicked a field goal to pad its lead. The Arizona quarterback had already thrown two interceptions, and now needed two quick scores and some luck — in a hurry, too — to somehow win the New Mexico Bowl.
Scott even admitted he didn’t have “positive” thoughts before returning to the field.




But in the final 46 seconds, Scott threw two short touchdown passes and college football’s postseason started with a wild one as Arizona rallied past Nevada 49-48 Saturday.

Overcoming a slow start and three big turnovers, Arizona (8-5) recovered an onside kick in the last minute, setting up Scott’s 2-yard toss to Tyler Slavin with 19 seconds left for the winning score.

“It’s not easy to come back from that situation,” Scott said. “You’re not necessarily going to think the most positive thing at the time, but we went out there and took care of business. It was just a big drive. I still can’t believe it.”

Arizona trailed 21-0 in the first quarter and was down 45-28 entering the final period. Scott threw for 382 yards and marched his team back into the game despite those two earlier interceptions.

“I mean, it’s improbable,” first-year Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said.

“Certainly, I’ve had some games come down to that end,” he said. “But to have everything, the defense making the stop, to the field goal, Matt leading the quick drive down there, getting the onside kick … and then Matt leading down again. It just doesn’t happen very often.”

The nation’s rushing leader, Ka’Deem Carey, gained 172 yards for the Wildcats and but fell short of becoming only the 16th running back in NCAA history to reach 2,000 yards in a season.

Arizona receiver Austin Hill caught eight passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns. The teams combined for 1,237 total yards.

Cody Fajardo threw for three touchdowns and ran for another score to lead the Wolf Pack (7-6). He had 256 yards passing and 140 yards rushing and controlled most of the game, completing 22 of 32 throws.
Stefphon Jefferson, the nation’s second-leading rusher, ran for 180 yards for Nevada and also seemed unstoppable as the Wolf Pack took a big lead and held on to it for most of the game.

But after forcing Nevada to kick a field goal with 1:48 left that made it 48-35, Scott drove the Wildcats down 75 yards in about a minute. Arizona then recovered an onside kick and Scott marched his team into the end zone after three plays and 51 yards.

“They scored 14 points in less than two minutes,” Nevada linebacker Albert Rosette said. “I’m still in shock right now.”

Nevada head coach Chris Ault said the team pass defense just didn’t make a play when it was needed.

“Well, it’s a sick feeling,” he said. “Congratulations to Arizona. They held in there and did it, but it’s a sick feeling.”

Ault said a late injury to Fajardo also hurt Nevada’s running game in the last six or so minutes of the game.

“He ran it one time, just tucking it up in there,” Ault said. “But we could not run our read game at that particular time.”

Rodriguez, who took a year off from coaching after a disappointing stint at Michigan, is now 3-5 in bowl game appearances. He called his New Mexico Bowl win among his best career wins as a coach.

“It’s the latest and the greatest so far,” Rodriguez said.
 
Utah State routs Toledo 41-15 in Idaho Potato Bowl

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams was having a quiet day when things took a turn for the worse in the fourth quarter when he fumbled deep in his own territory.

As it has all season, the Aggies’ defense did its job, holding Toledo to a field goal that cut the lead to 13-9 with 7:28 to go. Then Williams atoned for his mistake — in a big way.

On the next possession, Williams broke through the defense and raced 63 yards for a touchdown. On the next two possessions, the senior was unstoppable, ripping off a 56-yard run and scoring TDs on runs of 5 and 25 yards, all within a span of less than 4 minutes to lift No. 18 Utah State to a 41-15 victory over Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday.

“When stuff like that happens you have to have a short memory,” Williams said about the fumble. “You can’t change it. I just knew the next opportunity for me, I needed to make a big play.”

Williams’ fourth-quarter spree fueled a 28-point Aggies scoring burst that turned a close game into a blowout. Williams finished with a career-best 235 yards rushing on 18 carries, with 182 of those yards coming on six carries in the fourth quarter, and was voted MVP.

Williams’ heroics also capped the most successful season in the history of Utah State football. The Aggies finished 11-2, won the Western Athletic Conference title outright and won a bowl game for the first time since 1993. Utah State also will likely finish ranked for the first time since 1961.

“You play in bowls to win championships, and they did that today,” said Aggies coach Gary Andersen, who in four years has turned a Western Athletic Conference doormat into the top team of a conference soon to be obsolete. “They (team) reached every single goal they set last January. That doesn’t happen often in life or often in football. I’m very, very proud of them.”

The Aggies, bolstered all year by one of the best defenses in FBS, rolled up 582 yards total yards on offense.

Quarterback Chuckie Keeton was 21-of-31 passing for 229 yards and 92 yards rushing, including a 62-yard dash that put Utah State up 7-3 in the first quarter.

The defense also turned in another impressive performance. Toledo (9-4) was able to move the ball at times and made five trips inside the red zone. But penalties, miscues and an inability to execute on critical plays forced the Rockets to settle for three Jeremiah Detmer field goals.

Detmer hit a pair from 37 yards out and another from 29, closing his season by making 17 straight.

Toledo’s only touchdown came when Bernard Reedy returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. Reedy was the only big producer on a Toledo offense held to 315 total yards. Reedy had 51 yards rushing and caught six passes for 62 yards.

“When they got down in the red zone, they scored touchdowns. When we got down into the red zone we kicked field goals,” first-year Toledo coach Matt Campbell said. “In big football games you have to win details.”

Toledo quarterback Austin Dantin, who started in place of the injured Terrence Owens, was 12 of 21 passing for 132 yards. Dantin threw an interception in the third quarter to end a promising scoring drive and was replaced by Owens in the fourth quarter.

Owens moved the Rockets on his first possession, but another red-zone opportunity was squelched when the Aggies snuffed Owens for no gain on a fourth-and-1 play from the 9.

Toledo also was forced to adjust early without two of its best players. Linebacker Dan Molls, the nation’s leading tackler, had a concussion on the opening kickoff and didn’t return. Minutes later, running back David Fluellen, the nation’s eighth-leading rusher, went down with an ankle injury. He finished with 38 yards on seven carries.

Campbell refused to use the injuries to Moll and Fluellen as an excuse and pointed out the game was close until the final 7 1/2 minutes.

“Injuries happen, they occur, you have to have the ability to adapt and you have to have the ability to move on,” he said. “We were still in the game in the fourth quarter. I’m really proud of our football team from that standpoint.”

Philip Liquori

College Football: Arizona overcomes Nevada 49-48 in New Mexico Bowl / Utah State routs Toledo 41-15 in Idaho Potato Bowl is a post from: PhatzRadio.com

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