The Rich Rodriguez era opened in dramatic fashion as the Wildcats defeated Toledo 24-17 in overtime.
Sept. 2, 2012
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Post Game Press Conference [Free Video]
TUCSON, Ariz. - Arizona senior quarterback Matt Scott passed for a career-high 387 yards, which was capped off by an eventual game-winning touchdown toss to Terrence Miller on third down in overtime to lead the Wildcats past Toledo, 24-17, in head coach Rich Rodriguez's debut on Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.
Arizona (1-0) opened the overtime period on offense and Toledo (0-1) was called for a 15-yard pass interference penalty on the first play of the drive. After the Wildcats failed to pick up any yardage on the next two plays, Scott was flushed right out of the pocket and just before stepping out of bounds he threw across his body and found Miller at the goal line for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Wildcats racked up 624 total yards on the night as the two teams combined for 982 total yards. The 624 yards gained by the Cats were the second most in school history and the most since racking up 691 yards against New Mexico in 1969. The U of A totaled 387 through the air and 237 on the ground.
Scott was tremendous the entire night as he finished 30-of-46 with two touchdown tosses and one interception. In addition, he carried the ball 14 times for 74 yards.
"It was real important," said Scott, when asked about the importance of winning in Coach Rodriguez' first game. "Every time we go out there we try to win the game. We faced a lot of adversity in this game and we knew we would be facing adversity. We fought through it and came out with the win."
Meanwhile, sophomore Ka'Deem Carey rushed for a career-high 147 yards on 20 carries, which included a 73-yard touchdown scamper. Dan Buckner and Austin Hill combined for 17 catches and 255 yards. Buckner finished with a game-high 10 grabs for 116 yards, while Hill had seven catches for a career-high 139 yards and a touchdown. Miller and Richard Morrison each had six grabs each for a combined 124 yards.
As good as the Arizona offensive numbers were, the defense came away with some critical stops. The trio of Jake Fischer, Jared Tevis and Marquis Flowers all recorded double-digit tackles. Fischer and Flowers each came away with 2.5 tackles for a loss.
With the score tied 17-17 in the closing stages of the fourth quarter, Arizona drove 72 yards all the way down to the eight yard line to setup a game-winning field goal with two seconds left. From 25-yards out and on the right hash mark, John Bonano hooked the kick wide to the left as time expired to send the game to overtime.
After the Wildcats defense earned a stop on Toledo's opening possession of the contest, Arizona put together a 12-play 71-yard drive, which was capped off by a Bonano 26-yard field goal to give the Cats an early 3-0 lead.
With UA in front 3-0, Toledo opened the second quarter by capping off a 10-play 94-yard drive with a 59-yard touchdown pass from Terrance Owens to Alonzo Russell to give the Rockets a 7-3 advantage. On the very next Arizona drive, Scott found Hill for a 30-yard touchdown to cap a 75-yard drive on six plays to put the Wildcats back in front. Toledo regained the lead later in the period on a one-yard touchdown run by David Fluellen, which put the Rockets in front 14-10 at the half. The Wildcats were hampered by two costly turnovers in the opening half, which ended potential scoring drives deep in Toledo territory.
After both teams traded punts to begin the second half, Arizona started its second drive of the second half from its own 16 yard line. Following an 11-yard first down completion from Scott to Hill, Carey ripped off a career-long 73-yard touchdown run to put Arizona in front 17-14. The 73-yard run was the longest by the Wildcats since Keola Antolin had a 78-yarder back on October 23, 2010.
Toledo tied the score at the beginning of the fourth quarter on a Jeremiah Detmer 40-yard field goal. Neither team could manage to put a drive together until the Cats marched down the field on the final drive of the game. Arizona put together a 13-play 73-yard drive to get into field goal position.
Owens was the more effective quarterback for the Rockets as he went 11-of-22 for 134 yards with a touchdown toss. Austin Dantin finished 10-of-25 for just 63 yards.
Arizona welcomes No. 19 Oklahoma State to Arizona Stadium on Saturday, September 8 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be aired live on the Pac-12 Network.
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