Dec. 10, 2012
2012 Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Nevada (7-5, 4-4 Mountain West) vs. Arizona (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12)
Arizona Game Notes | Bowl Guide | Season Stats
Date: Saturday, Dec. 15 Time: 11 a.m. (MST)
Location: Albuquerque, N.M. (University Stadium -- 37,457)
Television Broadcast: ESPN
TV Broadcasters: Bob Wischusen (pxp), Danny Kanell (analyst), Kaylee Hartung (sideline)
UA Radio: Arizona Radio Network, 1290 AM Tucson (see page 4 of this release for complete list of affiliates)
UA Radio Broadcasters: Brian Jeffries (pxp), Lamont Lovett (color analyst), Dana Cooper (sideline analyst)
Satellite Radio: SiriusXM 84 (ESPN Radio)
Arizona-Nevada Series History
All-Time: Series is tied 1-1-1
First Meeting: Nov. 1, 1924 (Nevada 23, Arizona 14 at Reno)
Second Meeting: Nov. 26, 1925 (Arizona 0, Nevada 0 at Tucson)
Third Meeting: Oct. 11, 1941 (Arizona 26, Nevada 7 at Tucson)
Some Game Themes: College football's bowl season - the most wonderful time of the year - kicks off with a matchup of two western programs that haven't met on the gridiron in 71 years ... Is a shootout in store in the Southwest? It would appear so with a pair of high-scoring offenses facing a pair of defenses that have struggled to consistently slow down opponents ... A well-hyped showdown between the nation's leading rusher (Arizona's All-American Ka'Deem Carey, 146.4 ypg) and the second-leading rusher (Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson, 141.9 ypg) ... Quarterbacks Matt Scott (Arizona, 3,723 total offense yards) duels with Cody Fajardo (Nevada, 3,511 total offense yards) in a battle of dual-threat signal-callers ... Arizona appears in a bowl game for the fourth time in the last five seasons, while Nevada makes its eighth-consecutive postseason trip ... A contrast in coaching tenures, with Arizona's Rich Rodriguez in his first season at the school squaring off against Chris Ault who has served three stints as the Nevada head coach over 28 combined years ... Arizona, despite missing a bowl game last year, can finish its season with a victory for the second straight year after bowl losses in 2009 and 2010 ... A last chance for seniors on both sides of the ball to cap their careers on high notes ... A preview of an upcoming home-and-home series between the schools in the 2014 (Tucson) and 2015 (Reno) seasons.
Last Time Out: Arizona's regular season ended on a heart-breaking note as it surrendered the Territorial Cup (the nation's oldest rivalry trophy) to rival Arizona State in a 41-34 outcome before a sold-out crowd of 51,901 at Arizona Stadium on Nov. 23. The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead on Ka'Deem Carey's 1-yard touchdown run in the opening period, but the Sun Devils outscored Arizona 14-3 in the second stanza to claim a 14-9 halftime edge. After ASU kicked a field goal early in the third quarter, the Wildcats stormed back with 18 unanswered points to take a 27-17 lead into the fourth quarter. Another field goal by Jon Mora brought the Sun Devils to within a touchdown with 11:51 to play in the game. Arizona was poised to extend that lead minutes later with a redzone drive, but Matt Scott fumbled and the Sun Devils promptly recovered and marched in for the tying touchdown on the ensuing drive. The Cats went three plays and out on their next series, and Kyle Dugandzic's punt was blocked. One play later, the visitors had the lead and never looked back. They intercepted Scott on the next drive and punched in another touchdown to take a 41-27 lead. The Wildcats scored with 1:54 remaining in the game, but were unable to recover the onside kick and with no timeouts saw the clock hit zero with a 41-34 score standing. The Wildcats outgained the Sun Devils, 522-460, but Arizona State scored 35 points off four UA turnovers and the blocked punt. That proved to be the difference as the Wildcats scored just six points off two Sun Devil turnovers in the game. Arizona's Carey set the school's single-season rushing record thanks to his 172 rushing yards, but ASU's running back Marion Grice stole the show with 156 yards and three touchdowns to win the Bob Moran Most Outstanding Player Award. It was the fourth-straight game in the series decided by a touchdown or less (15 total points), with the visiting team winning each of those tilts.
The Coaches: Arizona - Rich Rodriguez (West Virginia `86), first year at Arizona (7-5) and 18th as a head coach overall (126-89-2). At Arizona, Rodriguez is 6-2 at Arizona Stadium, 1-3 on the road and 0-0 at neutral sites. Rodriguez was introduced as the 30th head coach of the UA football program on Nov. 22, 2011. He carries Division I records of 7-5 at Arizona, 60-26 at West Virginia (2001-2007) and 15-22 at Michigan (2008-10). He began his head coaching career at Salem (W.Va.) University in 1988 and then coached at Glenville State (W.Va.) from 1990-96. Rodriguez's West Virginia teams were Big East Champions in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007 while appearing in two BCS bowls, the 2005 Sugar Bowl with a victory over Georgia for an 11-1 record and a victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl to finish 10-2 shortly after Rodriguez had left for Michigan. His teams have appeared in bowls in eight of 11 seasons an FBS head coach. Nevada - Chris Ault (Nevada, '69 and '73), 28th season at Nevada (233-108-1) and 28th overall as a head coach. Ault has been with the Nevada program for 41 years, beginning with his playing career as a quarterback from 1965-67. Ault's coaching career began as an assistant at UNLV, before at age 29, he became the Wolf Pack head coach from 1976-92. In 1986, he began serving as the school's athletics director, a position he remained in after stepping aside from coaching duties. He returned to coaching for the 1994-95 seasons and continued his administrative role through 2004. That year, he returned to coaching full time without the administrative responsibility. He is one of 14 FBS head coaches that began this season coaching at their alma mater.
Arizona vs. Nevada/Mountain West: Arizona and Nevada have met three previous times on the gridiron, with the series split evenly at 1-1-1. The Wildcats won the last meeting, 26-7, on Oct. 11, 1941, in Tucson. The Wolf Pack won the initial meeting between the programs by a score of 23-14 on Nov. 1, 1924, in Reno. A year later, the schools played to a 0-0 tie on Nov. 26, 1925, in Tucson. ... Arizona is 87-47-5 against current members of the Mountain West Conference ... The Wildcats' last game against a MW foe was a 31-21 victory over No. 17 Brigham Young (now independent) in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 20, 2008. Earlier that season the Wildcats dropped a game, 36-28, to New Mexico in Albuquerque - their last meeting with a current MW school ... Other than the Lobos, Arizona has played just two additional schools in the current MW this millennium, including San Diego State (in 2000 and 2001) and UNLV (2001) ... The Wildcats' last bowl game against a current MW member was a 20-14 victory over New Mexico in the 1997 Insight.com Bowl played on Dec. 27, 1997, in Tucson.
Future Foes: When Arizona was matched up against Oklahoma State in the 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl, it marked the first time since 1942 that the programs had met on the field. Interestingly, the two teams had already scheduled a home-and-home series to be played in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The Cowboys won the bowl game (36-10) and the first regular season matchup in Stillwater (37-14) against Mike Stoops-coached Wildcat teams, before Rich Rodriguez guided Arizona to a 59-38 victory in Tucson on Sept. 8 of this year. This time around, the Wildcats are set to face Nevada in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in the first gridiron battle between the schools since 1941. Conveniently, the schools are also set to play a home-and-home series beginning in 2014 in Tucson and wrapping up in Reno in 2015.
Roster Notes: Neither Arizona nor Nevada have a player from New Mexico listed on their respective rosters ... The Wolf Pack does not have a player from the state of Arizona ... The Wildcats have one player, receiver Garic Wharton, that hails from the state of Nevada. Wharton, from Valley High School in Las Vegas, was named Class 4A All-Northeast League First-Team honors as an athlete, plus second-team as kick returner in his senior year of 2009 ... Two recent offensive stars for Arizona (both played from 2008-11) - receiver Juron Criner (now with Oakland Raiders) and running back Keola Antolin- also arrived in the Old Pueblo from the Las Vegas area. Criner attended Canyon Springs High School before moving on the set an Arizona career record with 32 receiving touchdowns and finished fourth with 2,859 receiving yards. Antolin finished his career ranked ninth all-time in rushing yards (2,397) and was the Wildcats' leading rusher in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, respectively.
Mirror Images? On paper, Arizona and Nevada share some striking similarities. Both teams have 7-5 overall records and each won four games in their respective conferences ... Each side boasts one of the nation's top rushers, with Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey (146.42 yards per game) edging out Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson (141.92) for the national lead heading into bowl season ... Interestingly, each team's second-leading rusher is the starting quarterback with Arizona's Matt Scott accounting for 484 rushing yards and Nevada's Cody Fajardo nearing a 1,000-yard season with his current total of 981 yards. Each QB has accounted for more than 3,500 yards of total offense on the season and rank among the top 11 players nationally in total offense per game ... The Wolf Pack ranks No. 7 in rushing offense (260.0 ypg) and scores 37.0 points per game, while the Wildcats rank No. 15 in rushing offense (230.4 ypg) and tally 37.3 points per game ... The teams have combined for over 12,000 yards of total offense this season (6,262 by Arizona and 6,024 by Nevada) ... The Wildcats average 6.3 yards per play and their opponents 5.9 ypp, while the Wolf Pack averages 6.2 ypp to its opponents' 5.8 ypp ... Each defense has allowed over 32 points and 430 yards of total offense per contest this season ... Both schools have played a pair of overtime games this year, with each going 1-1 in those games ... Arizona is minus-2 in turnover margin this season while Nevada is minus-3.
An All-American Season: Sophomore running back Ka'Deem Carey is the first offensive player in Arizona history To Be Named a Walter Camp All-American. The Tucson, Ariz., native set the school's single-season rushing record with 1,757 yards on 275 carries this year. Averaging 146.4 rushing yards per game, Carey is the nation's leading rusher and is one touchdown shy of matching Art Luppino's program record (21) for rushing touchdowns in a season. The 5-foot-10, 197-pounder set a Pac-12 record with 366 rushing yards against Colorado on Nov. 10 and his 400 all-purpose yards in the contest broke Luppino's single-game school record held since 1954. Carey joins nine other Wildcats who have earned 10 Walter Camp All-America citations, including Antoine Cason (DB, 2007), Chris McAlister (DB, 1998), Tedy Bruschi (DL, 1995 and 1994), Tony Bouie (DB, 1994), Rob Waldrop (DL, 1993), Darryll Lewis (DB, 1990), Chuck Cecil (DB, 1987), Allan Durden (DB, 1985) and Ricky Hunley (LB, 1983).
Arizona In Bowl Games: This is Arizona's first-ever appearance in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl ... The Wildcats are making their 17th all-time bowl appearance, including their fourth in the last five years ... Arizona is 6-9-1 all-time in bowl games and has lost two-consecutive contests, but had previously won three-straight ... After missing out on postseason competition from 1999-2007, former head coach Mike Stoops led the Wildcats to the 2008 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl (defeated BYU, 31-21), the 2009 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (lost to Nebraska, 33-0) and 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl (lost to Oklahoma State, 36-10).
All-Pac-12: Ka'Deem Carey was named All-Pac-12 First-Team at the running back position to lead a cast of seven Wildcats on the Pac-12 All-Conference lists. Senior Matt Scott was named All-Pac-12 Second-Team at the quarterback position, while sophomore Austin Hill was named All-Pac-12 Second-Team at the receiver position. Senior receiver Dan Buckner, junior linebacker Jake Fischer, senior center Kyle Quinn and sophomore safety Jared Tevis were named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Fischer earned his second league honor after also being named honorable mention in 2010.
Tracking Ka'Deem: With 1,757 rushing yards, Ka'Deem Careysits in 10th place on the Pac-12 Conference all-time single-season rushing yardage chart. Carey's average game (146.4 this season) would push him all the way up to No. 5, ahead of the likes of LaMichael James (1,805, Oregon - 2011), Charles White (1,859, USC - 1978), Toby Gerhart (1,871, Stanford - 2009), O.J. Simpson (1,880, USC - 1968) and Jerome Harrison (1,900, Washington State - 2005). A total of 219 yards would surpass Ricky Bell, (1,975, USC - 1975). Only three players in league history have gained over 2,000 yards in a season, including J.J. Arrington (2,018, California - 2004), Charles White, (2,050, USC - 1979) and Marcus Allen (2,427, USC - 1981). To move up into the No. 2 slot, Carey would need to collect 294 yards on the ground. Perhaps a bit of a stretch moving too far up that top-five, but Carey does own the conference single-game record of 366 yards set earlier this year.
Rich Rodriguez In Bowl Games: Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is the first Wildcat coach to lead the school to a bowl game in his first season on the job. The Gildan New Mexico Bowl marks the eighth time in 11 seasons as an FBS head coach that Rodriguez has led his teams to a bowl berth. At West Virginia, Rodriguez led the Mountaineers to six-consecutive postseason appearances from 2002-2007, including two BCS Bowls (2007 Fiesta and 2005 Sugar). At Michigan, Rodriguez guided the Wolverines to the 2010 Gator Bowl. Rodriguez's teams are 3-4 in the previous bowl games, including 2-0 in the BCS games, though Rodriguez did not coach the Mountaineers in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl as he had already accepted the head job at Michigan (the late Bill Stewart coached WVU in the game and was named the full time head coach after the game).
UA & RR Total Offense: Arizona has set a new school record with 6,262 total offense yards this season, breaking the previous benchmark of 5,712 yards rolled up by the 2010 squad. At 521.8 yards per game, it also stands as the highest per game output ever for head coach Rich Rodriguez in his 11 seasons as an FBS head coach. His final club at Michigan registered 488.7 yards per game, and checked out as his most balanced with 238.5 yards per game on the ground and 250.2 per game passing. At Arizona, he has his highest passing figure with 291.4 yards per game, and a hefty 230.4 clip on the ground. Prior to the Wolverines' tally in 2010, Rodriguez's next highest total offense total was 461.4 yards per game at West Virginia in 2006.
Rushing Attack: Arizona's ground game averages 230.4 rushing yards per game, a figure that would rank ninth-best in program history. Surprisingly, none of the top-10 rushing seasons in school history have come since 1989, making this year's attack the most prolific in more than two decades. The mark also will be the best for a Rich Rodriguez team in his first season installing his offense. At West Virginia in 2001, the Mountaineers ran for 181.1 yards per game. At Michigan in 2008, the Wolverines gained 147.6 yards per game on the ground.
Scoring Offense: With 447 points scored, the Wildcats are averaging 37.2 points per game. That figure would rank second-best in modern day school history behind the 1954 club that averaged 38.5 (385 points in 10 games). Arizona would need some 54 points in its final game to break to the record. Looking at Rich Rodriguez's 11 seasons as an FBS coach, UA's current 37.2 points per game averaged would be his third-best mark, trailing only the 2007 (39.6) and 2008 (38.8) squads at West Virginia, respectively.
Tale of Two Seasons? Over the first half of the season, the Wildcats averaged 37.0 points per game. In the second half of the year, they averaged 37.5 points per game. Pretty consistent, you say? Yes, indeed. However, the way Arizona moved the football to produce those points was dramatically different. Early in the year the Wildcats relied on the experience and arm of fifth-year senior quarterback Matt Scott to produce 368.3 passing yards per game against 183.0 rushing yards per game. Passing accounted for 67 percent of UA's total offense yards over those first six games. In the second half of the season, Arizona began putting the ball in the hands of All-American running back Ka'Deem Carey more frequently with an emphasis on the running game. The final six games saw the Wildcats rush for 277.8 yards per game and pass for just 214.5 yards per game. After accounting for only 33 percent of yards in the first half of the season, rushing offense composed 56 percent of UA's total offense in the last half-dozen contests.
Superlative Triple-Threat: Arizona's offensive triple-threat attack features a 3,000-yard passer (Matt Scott - 3,238 yards), a 1,500-yard rusher (Ka'Deem Carey - 1,757 yards) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Austin Hill- 1,189 yards). The trio is the first of its kind in Arizona history, a school that has only once had a 1,000-yard rushing and 1,000-yard receiving tandem in the same season (Trung Canidate and Dennis Northcutt in 1999). Scott, who missed one start against Colorado last month, ranks second in the Pac-12 in passing yards (294.4 yards per game) and has the sixth 3,000-plus yard passing season in program history. Carey leads all FBS players in rushing yards per game (146.4) and total yards from scrimmage (2,045), while Hill - a Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist - ranks No. 12 individually for total receiving yards.
Rodriguez Notches Winning Season: Arizona's 34-24 victory at Utah on Nov. 17 not only marked head coach Rich Rodriguez's first road victory with the Wildcats, it also assured him a winning record in his first season at the school. That's notable because the last UA head coach to do so in his inaugural campaign was College Football Hall of Fame member Jim Young, whose Wildcat club posted a winning season with an 8-3 record in 1973. Othwerwise, Tony Mason (5-7, 1977), Larry Smith (5-6, 1980), John Mackovic (5-6, 2001) and Mike Stoops (3-8, 2004) were unable to turn in winning seasons in their first year on the job. However, Dick Tomey, UA's all-time coaching wins leader, broke even at 4-4-3 in his first season in 1987.
Thank You, Seniors: The Gildan New Mexico Bowl marks the final game for 20 seniors that have helped produce a winning 26-24 record over the last four seasons and a 34-29 mark over the last five years. The group is set to make its third bowl appearance over the last four years, and for those players that were around to redshirt in 2008, they will make their fourth postseason trip in their five-year career. The last time a Wildcat senior class achieved that feat was in 1994 when Arizona participated in bowl games in 1990 and then 1992-94. This year's seniors include: Dominique Austin (DL), Addison Bachman (OL), Trace Biskin (OL), John Bonano (PK), Dan Buckner (WR), Lamar De Rego (DL), Kyle Dugandzic (P), Chris Merrill (DL), Terrence Miller (WR), Willie Mobley (DL), Greg Nwoko (RB/LB), Kyle Quinn (OL), Drew Robinson (TE), Matt Scott (QB), Elliot Taylor (RB), Taimi Tutogi (FB/DL), Christian Upshaw (DL), Jowyn Ward (DL/OL), Mark Watley (DB) and Shane Zink (OL).
Carey The Load: Sophomore running back Ka'Deem Carey, a local product out of Canyon del Oro High School, is Arizona's new single-season record-holder with 1,757 rushing yards this season. Named a first-team All-American by multiple outlets, Carey leads all FBS rushers with 146.4 rushing yards per game and checks in second in the conference in all-purpose yardage (171.8 ypg). The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder has 21 total scores (20 rushing, one receiving) to rank No. 2 in the Pac-12 and rank tied for eighth nationally in touchdowns scored. Carey has topped 100 yards rushing nine times this season alone, just a year after the Wildcats broke 100 yards as a team only five times in 12 contests in 2011. Seven of his 100-yard games came against Pac-12 schools. He boasts a 5.96 yards per carry average in career (366-2,182, 26 TD), the ninth-best career average for active FBS players with minimum 300 rush attempts.
Ka'Deem Carey in the FBS National Rankings:
- Ranks No. 1 with 146.4 rushing yards per game
- Ranks No. 1 with 2,045 total yards from scrimmage.
- Ranks No. 2 with 1,757 total rushing yards.
- Ranks No. 5 with 2,061 all-purpose yards
- Ranks tied for No. 1 with 54 rushing plays of 10-plus yards.
- Ranks No. 1 with 20 rushing plays of 20-plus yards.
- Ranks No. 3 with 63 scrimmage plays of 10-plus yards
- Ranks tied for No. 3 with 24 scrimmage plays of 20-plus yards
- Ranks tied for No. 8 with 21 total touchdowns.
Carey's Record Day: Ka'Deem Carey rushed 25 times for 366 yards and five touchdowns on Nov. 10 against Colorado, setting or matching several school and conference records. Here's a summary:
- Carey's 366 rushing yards were the ninth-most ever in an FBS (formerly Division I) game, including the most in 2012. The figure also broke Washington State's Rueben Mayes' conference record of 357 yards gained at Oregon on Oct. 27, 1984. The previous Arizona school record was held by Trung Canidate, who rushed for 288 yards against Arizona State on Nov. 27, 1998, at Arizona Stadium.
- Carey's five touchdown runs set a new Arizona record for single-game rushing scores and tied the conference record held by multiple players, including Oregon's Kenjon Barner who had five rushing scores against USC on Nov. 3. The five scores matched Art Luppino's record for single-game total touchdowns (four by rushing) set on Sept. 18, 1954, against New Mexico State. With a pair of extra points in that 1954 game, Luppino set the school record for single-game points scored (32). Carey's 30 last Saturday now rank second all-time at the school.
- Carey shattered the single-game school record for yards per carry (14.6) for a palyer with 20 or more rushing attempts in a game. The previous mark was established by Don Beasley, who ran 21 times for 193 yards (9.2 ypc) against Arizona State on Nov. 28, 1953.
- Carey added 34 receiving yards to finish with an even 400 all-purpose yards in the game - another school record. The previous mark was held by Art Luppino, who gained 359 against New Mexico State on Sept. 18, 1954.
200-Yard Games: Ka'Deem Carey is the first Wildcat to register back-to-back 200-plus yard rushing games and is just the third to have multiple 200-yard games in his career. Trung Canidate had three 200-yard games in his career (one in 1998, two in 1999), while Art Luppino had one in 1954 and another in 1955 ... Arizona had 13 all-time 200-yard rushing games entering this season, and Carey's 366 vs. Colorado and 204 at Utah are Nos. 14 and 15 ... Carey is the fourth player in the nation this season to tally back-to-back 200-yard games, joining Cody Getz (Air Force), David Fluellen (Toledo) and Johnathan Franklin (UCLA) ... Carey is one of 10 players across the nation with multiple 200-yard games ... Carey's 570 combined yards in the two games are the most for a play in back-to-back games this season, and came up three shy of matching Washington State's Reuben Mayes' 573 yards in consecutive games in 1984 that stands as the Pac-12 Conference record.
Rodriguez's 1,000-Yard Rushers: Ka'Deem Carey became the first running back to post a 1,000-yard season under head coach Rich Rodriguez since Steve Slaton did so at West Virginia in 2007. At Michigan, only dual-threat quarterback Dennard Robinson (2010) mounted a 1,000-yard season during Rodriguez's three seasons. At West Virginia, Slaton had three-straight 1,000-yard campaigns, including in 2007, 2006 and 2005. His quarterback during those years, Pat White, also turned in 1,000-yard seasons in 2006 and 2007. Prior to the Slaton-White years, running backs Avon Cobourne (2001 and 2002) and Quincy Wilson (2003) had 1,000-yard seasons under Rodriguez. Added up, and with Carey included, that's 10 (ten) 1,000-yard rushers over 11 seasons as an FBS head coach for Rodriguez.
Tracking Matt: Senior quarterback Matt Scott has emerged as one of the most prolific passers in the country in his only full season as a starter. Scott, who has 3,238 total passing yards, is averaging just under 300 yards per game (294.4 ypg), ranking second in the Pac-12 and mong the top 16 of all FBS throwers. Added with more than 40 rushing yards per game, Scott is averaging 338.5 yards in total offense per game, which leads the Pac-12 and ranks No. 7 nationally. Scott, who is averaging 11.9 yards per completion, has the 15th-most passing plays of 10-plus yards (133) of any quarterback in the country. It's all amounts to Scott challenging some single season and career top-10 offensive charts. Here's a look at a few:
- Scott has four of Arizona's top-10 all-time single-game total offense performances (485 at Stanford, 469 vs. USC, 461 vs. Toledo, and 432 vs. Oregon State)
- 3,723 total offense yards in 2012 rank No. 2 in single-season history. He would need some 509 yards to overtake Nick Foles for the school record (4,231 in 2011).
- Scott ranks No. 3 in single-season history with 24 passing touchdowns. He needs four more to tie the record (28, held by Nick Foles  and Willie Tuitama ).
- Scott (3,238 yards) ranks No. 3 on the school's single-season passing yardage list, where he will likely finish. He re mains 445 shy of Willie Tuitama's 3,683 yards in 2007. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles set the program record with 4,334 a season ago.
- Scott's 273 pass completions rank No. 4 in single-season history. He needs 14 more completions to move up to No. 3 ahead of Nick Foles' total of 286 in 2010. - Scott's 30 career passing touchdowns rank tied for No. 9 in program history. He is five shy of Jason Johnson's 35 set from 1999-2002.
Biletnikoff Semifinalist: Sophomore receiver Austin Hill was one of the ten semifinalists for the 2012 Biletnikoff Award, presented to the nation's top receiver. Hill turned in a stellar regular season, gaining 1,189 receiving yards on 73 catches. His yardage total ranks No. 12 among all FBS players, and checks in as the fourth-most yards gained in Arizona single-season history (can move up to No. 3 with 45 more receiving yards). His biggest game came against No. 10 USC on Oct. 27 in which he racked up a career-best 259 receiving yards, the second-highest total in UA single-game history. On 10 grabs in that game, he set a UA single-game mark for yards per reception (25.9) and currently boasts a season average of 16.5 yards per catch. In the USC game alone, Hill had five receptions of 20-plus yards, including a career-long 60-yarder to continue a trend of making big plays all season long. In fact, Hill ranks tied for No. 10 in the nation in receptions of 20-plus yards (19) and third for 30-plus yards (11). He averages 99.1 yards per game, good enough for the No. 3 spot in the Pac-12 and No. 12 nationally. His 16.3 yards per catch is actually 1.3 yards better than Pac-12 receiving leader Marqise Lee of USC.
Dan's The Man: In the receiving jamboree, senior Dan Buckner has been overshadowed by youngster Austin Hill, but the upperclassman has turned in a strong campaign. Buckner is second on the team in several receiving categories, including receptions (59), yards (741) and touchdowns (5). He averages 12.6 yards per grab - also second-best on the squad. With a pair of 100-yard receiving games, Buckner joins Hill (four 100-yard games) as one of several Pac-12 duos with multiple 100-yard games. His two touchdowns scores against Colorado were a new individual single-game best.
Credit The Big Boys: Arizona has gained 2,765 rushing yards and thrown for 3,497, while yielding just 18 sacks all season(1.5 per game, second-fewest in Pac-12). Yes, give credit to the offensive line. Ka'Deem Carey, Matt Scott and Austin Hill have received the headlines, but the big guys have done the yeoman's work all year long. Sophomore tackles Mickey Baucus and Fabbians Ebbele have served as bookends on the Wildcats' line for 24-straight games. Inside, senior center Kyle Quinn has made 21 career starts, including eight this season. His backup, senior Addison Bachman, filled in admirably for four starts midseason. The guard spots have been occupied by seniors Trace Biskin (six starts in 2012) and Shane Zink (eight starts in 2012), along with junior Chris Putton (nine starts in 2012). Those three players have 45 combined career starts. One youngster, true freshman Cayman Bundage, made one start at guard this year, but is a regular in the line rotation utilized by line coach Robert Anae, the one assistant from the previous staff re-hired by Rich Rodriguez. The continuity has been a key to success for sure.
Spurtability: A term coined by Clark Kellogg usually reserved for action on the hardwood, the Wildcats have made use of it on the gridiron this season. Arizona has trailed in all six of its wins against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents this season, but has often used a major scoring run to seize control. Here's a rundown:
Sept. 1 vs. Toledo - Cats trailed 14-10 at halftime, but held Rockets to just seven points the rest of the way in a 24-17 Wildcat victory in overtime to kick off the Rich Rodriguez era.
Sept. 8 vs. No. 18 Oklahoma State - The Cowboys surged to a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Wildcats scored 30 unanswered points en route to a 59-38 upset victory.
Oct. 20 vs. Washington - The Huskies opened up with a 3-0 lead, but Arizona responded by scoring the next 17 points and then shut out Washington, 21-0, in the second half of a 52-17 rout.
Oct. 27 vs. No. 18 USC - The Trojans, still in the national title picture at the time, were cruising with a 28-13 midway through the third quarter before Arizona erupted for 26-consecutive points on its way to a 39-36 upset victory.
Nov. 10 vs. Colorado - The Buffaloes owned a 10-7 lead at the start of the second quarter, but thanks to Ka'Deem Carey'sconference and school record-setting 366 rushing yards, the Wildcats outscored CU 42-7 over the second and third quarters in a 56-31 win.
Nov. 17 at Utah - Needing to win-out to keep bowl hopes alive, Utah was on its way to a potential senior-day victory with a 24-17 lead early in the fourth quarter. However, Arizona scored 17-straight points in the fourth quarter to rally and defeat the Utes.
Boomin' Bonano: John Bonano quietly put himself into the Arizona record books on Nov. 10, converting his 69th-consecutive point after touchdown try after the Wildcats' final score against Colorado (he is now 73-for-73). The previous school record of 68-straight made PATs was held by Max Zendejas (1982-84) and Jason Bondzio (2007-08). He missed his first career PAT in the regular season finale against Arizona State, but is still 51-for-52 on his PAT tries this year after connecting on all 24 attempts a season ago when he took over the job at mid-season. Prior to Bonano assuming the role last October, the Wildcats had missed five PATs (13-for-18) in the first half of the 2011 season. In addition to his PAT duties this year, Bonano is 14-for-20 on field goal tries with a long of 46. He has made 10 of his last 11 field goal attempts. The senior, who boasts a 3.92 GPA as a physiology major, has accounted for 95 points scored, tied for 10th most in Arizona single-season history.
Kickin' Kyle: Senior punter Kyle Dugandzic, who also serves as the holder on PAT/FG tries, as showed a strong and consistent leg all season. In 12 regular season games, Dugandzic has punted 48 times on the season with an average of 43.4 yards per punt. That figure would tie for the No. 9 spot in UA single-season history with Dennis Anderson (1975). Dugandzic has placed 22 of his 48 punts inside the 20-yardline and has given up just one touchback. He was named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week (Oct. 1) in a losing cause after a sensational performance against Oregon State that included a career-long 70-yard boomer and four of five total punts landing inside the 20-yard line. Boomin' Bonano: John Bonano quietly put himself into the Arizona record books on Nov. 10, converting his 69th-consecutive point after touchdown try after the Wildcats' final score against Colorado. The previous school record of 68-straight made PATs was held by Max Zendejas (1982-84) and Jason Bondzio (2007-08). He missed his first career PAT in the regular season finale against Arizona State, but is still 51-for-52 on his PAT tries this year after connecting on all 24 attempts a season ago when he took over the job at mid-season. Prior to Bonano assuming the role last October, the Wildcats had missed five PATs (13-for-18) in the first half of the 2011 season. In addition to his PAT duties this year, Bonano is 14-for-20 on field goal tries with a long of 46. He has made 10 of his last 11 field goal attempts. The senior, who boasts a 3.92 GPA as a physiology major, has accounted for 95 points scored, tied for 10th most in Arizona single-season history.
Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year: Senior kicker John Bonano was named the 2012 Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The Wildcats' three-year kickoff specialist took over placekicking duties for the final seven games of the 2011 season and the entire 2012 season. A physiology major with a 3.927 GPA, Bonano attends Arizona on an honors academic scholarship. He is currently applying to medical school and undergoing the interview process. He is a three-time Pac-12 All-Academic honoree and a 2012 CoSIDA Academic All-District award winner. A team leader in community service, he logs hours with regular visits to the Diamond Children's Center.
Kickin' Kyle: Senior punter Kyle Dugandzic, who also serves as the holder on PAT/FG tries, has shown a strong and consistent leg all season. In 12 regular season games, Dugandzic has punted 48 times on the season with an average of 43.4 yards per punt. That figure would tie for the No. 9 spot in UA single-season history with Dennis Anderson (1975). Dugandzic has placed 22 of his 48 punts inside the 20-yardline and has given up just one touchback. He was named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week (Oct. 1) in a losing cause after a sensational performance against Oregon State that included a career-long 70-yard boomer and four of five total punts landing inside the 20-yard line.
Noting the Youthful Defense: Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel rejoined Rich Rodriguez's staff after serving as West Virginia's defensive coordinator/linebackers coach from 2003-11. Casteel was a part of Rodriguez's staff from the get-go in Morgantown, W.V., beginning in 2001. He brought his 3-3-5 defensive scheme that proved so effective in West Virginia with him to the desert and inherited one of the youngest defensive units in the nation. The Wildcats, who rank 100th nationally in scoring defense (34.3 points per game), have started just one senior on the defensive side of the ball (senior Dominique Austin, five starts). That has left 96 percent of the starts earned on defense to players expected to return next year, including 73 of the 132 possible starts by freshmen or sophomores. It's been a resilient group not detoured by some of the power offenses it has faced. Led by junior team captain Jake Fischer and his 100-tackle season at middle linebacker, the Wildcats have gained valuable experience in 2012 that will behoove the group as it looks for make significant strides in 2013.
Man In The Middle: Junior Jake Fischer has been a stalwart middle linebacker in Arizona's new 3-3-5 defensive scheme implemented this season by defense coordinator Jeff Casteel. Fischer, who missed the 2011 season with an ACL injury, ranks tied for No. 3 among Pac-12 players and No. 53 nationally with 8.83 tackles per game (106 total). That's just a handful of tackles shy of 10 per game for the slightly undersized 6-foot, 215-pounder, who can becme just the third player to register 100 tackles in a season at the school over the last dozen years. Fischer has 6.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, three forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries. He was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week following a career-high 13-tackle season debut against Toledo on Sept. 1.
A Budding Star: Converted safety Marquis Flowers continues to develop as a linebacker, a position he was switched to about a week before the start of the season. At 6-foot-3, 221 pounds, Flowers is Arizona's biggest linebacker and ranks as team's leader with 5.5 sacks. Flowers also leads the club with 12.0 tackles for loss and is second with 90 total tackles. He has added two interceptions, three pass breakups and has forced three fumbles. He has accounted for four takeaways in the last six games (forced fumble vs. Washington and two INTs and forced fumble vs. USC). Flowers was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week last week for his effort against USC on Oct. 27.
Big Play Bondurant: Sophomore "spur" safety Tra'Mayne Bondurant was a thorn in the side of opposing offenses all season. The 5-foot-10, 208-punder can play both in the box and split out to cover slot receivers. That versatility has allowed him to rank second on the team in both tackles for loss (11.5) and passes broken up (seven). He's added two interceptions and forced a pair of fumbles, proving his nose for the football. He has started 18-consecutive games for the Wildcats, dating back to the final six of his true freshman season in 2011.
Dirty Work: In Arizona's new 3-3-5 scheme, nose guards Sione Tuihalmaka and Tevin Hood have been tasked with controlling the line of scrimmage and occupying blocks in the middle. They've done an admirable job all season long, with Tuihalamaka making 10 starts and Hood getting the nod twice. A junior with a team-leading 25 career starts, Tuihalamaka has 29 tackles, including two for loss, on the season. Meanwhile, Hood, who joined the program over the summer as a transfer, also registered two tackles for loss and total 24 stops on the season with one fumble forced. The two finished the regular season strong with 15 combined tackles against Arizona State on Nov. 23.
A Walk On No More: Jared Tevis, who prepped with Ka'Deem Carey at Tucson's Canyon del Oro High School, joined the Wildcat program as a walk on under former head coach Mike Stoops. After the coaching change, Tevis impressed Rich Rodriguez and the new staff last spring to earn a scholarship. He didn't disappoint. Tevis started 10 games (missed two with injury) as the Wildcats "bandit" safety where he registered 72 tackles to rank fourth on the squad. He intercepted a pair of passes and recorded six pass breakups, while tying for the team lead with three forced fumbles.
Graduate Students: Kudos to offensive linemen Kyle Quinn and Trace Biskin, who each earned their degrees from The University of Arizona last spring. The two completed their undergraduate work in four years, and competed in their final season in the program as fifth-year seniors. Quinn, a 21-game starter at center in his career, graduated with a bachelor's degree in history and is now enrolled in graduate school, exploring a master's degree in educational leadership. Biskin, a 16-game starter at right guard, graduated with a degree in political science and is now enrolled in UA's graduate program, studying international security.
All-Academic Cats: Arizona placed eight players on the Pac-12 All-Academic teams announced in November. Pac-12 First-Team All-Academic honors went to redshirt freshman Jared Baker (3.56, undeclared) at the running back position, junior Jake Fischer (3.32, marketing) at the linebacker position, sophomore Jared Tevis (3.25, finance) at the defensive back position and senior John Bonano (3.93, physiology) at the kicker position. Bonano earned his third accolade while Fischer was recognized for the second time. Second-team All-Academic honors went to sophomore Michael Cooper (3.92, business) at the tight end position and senior Trace Biskin (3.29, political science) at the offensive line position. Sophomores receiver Trevor Ermisch (3.00, pre-business) and defensive lineman Reggie Gilbert (3.18, undeclared) were named Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention.
Absentee Graduates: Ten Wildcats will celebrate their graduations from The University of Arizona in Albuquerque, N.M., on Dec. 15. The date of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl conflicts with the school's December graduation ceremony on campus at McKale Center. The graduates are: Dominique Austin (DL), Eric Bender-Ramsey (OL), John Bonano (PK), Dan Buckner (WR), Daniel Jenkins (RB), Chris Merrill (DL), Willie Mobley (DL), Greg Nwoko (RB), Matt Scott (QB) and Mark Watley(DB).
Building for the Future: The Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, scheduled to open in August 2013, marks a dynamic shift in the Arizona football culture as it will become the centerpiece of the program on the north end of Arizona Stadium. Supported by private funds, including significant leadership gifts from David and Edith Lowell and from Jeff and Sharon Stevens, the $72.3 million project will provide the Wildcats with one of the premier football facilities in the nation. The facility will be a four-floor operations center with strength training, sports-medicine, coaches offices, locker rooms, meeting rooms, equipment and facility service areas. The structure will enclose the north end of the stadium and create a full bowl with nearly 4,000 premium spectator seats, including a donor lounge with outdoor seating. Additionally, stairways and elevator towers for the concourse will connect the structure to the existing east and west stadium sections. Restrooms, amenity areas and a cafeteria will also serve the campus community. Arizona Stadium has an official capacity of 51,811 for this season, but once work is completed on the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, the venue will near the some 57,000 seats it has held in recent years.