THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published — Monday 17 December 2012
Last update 16 December 2012 9:51 pm
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M: Matt Scott threw two short touchdown passes in the final 46 seconds and college football’s postseason started with a wild one when Arizona rallied past Nevada 49-48 Saturday night in the New Mexico Bowl.
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.
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 two earlier interceptions.
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.
The teams combined for 1,237 total yards, the second most of any bowl game.
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 75 yards. Arizona then recovered an onside kick and Scott moved Arizona into the end zone after three plays and 51 yards.
Rich Rodriguez, in his first season as Arizona head coach, is now 3-5 in bowl game appearances.
Utah State 41, Toledo 15: In the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Kerwynn Williams ran for 235 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 18 Utah State (11-2) won a bowl game for the first time since 1993.
Chuckie Keeton scored on a 62-yard run to put Utah State up, 7-3, and Williams sparked a 28-point fourth quarter for Utah State when he broke through the defense and raced 63 yards for a touchdown to put the Aggies up 20-9.
Valdosta State 35, Winston-Salem State 7: In Florence, Alabama, Matt Pierce returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, and freshman Cedric O’Neal ran for 140 yards and a score to give Valdosta State the Division II championship. The Blazers (12-2) took a 21-0 halftime lead en route to their 10th straight win and first national title since 2007, coach David Dean’s debut season. The Rams are 14-1.
Sam Houston State 45, Eastern Washington 42: In Cheney, Washington, quarterback Brian Bell ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, and Sam Houston State raced to a 35-0 halftime lead but barely held on, earning a trip to the Football Championship Subdivision championship game.
The Bearkats (11-3) face top-seeded North Dakota State on Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas. After the Bearkats dominated the first half, backup quarterback Vernon Adams tied a school record with six touchdown passes to pull the Eagles within a field goal with 3:02 to play. However, behind Tim Flanders, who rushed for 219 yards, Sam Houston State was able to run out the clock.