Saturday, December 15, 2012

Arizona: 2012 New Mexico Bowl Champions

Last-Minute Touchdowns Lift Arizona to Win

The bowl season started with a wild game Saturday as Matt Scott threw two short touchdown passes in the final 46 seconds, helping Arizona rally past Nevada, 49-48, in the New Mexico Bowl.
Overcoming a slow start and three turnovers, Arizona (8-5) recovered an onside kick in the last minute, setting up Scott’s 2-yard pass to Tyler Slavin with 19 seconds left for the winning score in Albuquerque.
The Wildcats trailed by 21-0 in the first quarter and were behind by 45-28 entering the fourth. But Scott, who threw for 382 yards and 3 touchdowns with two interceptions, led his team back. The nation’s rushing leader, Ka’Deem Carey, gained 172 yards for the Wildcats but fell short of becoming the 16th running back in N.C.A.A. history to reach 2,000 yards in a season.
The teams combined for 1,237 yards, the second most of any bowl game.
“It was an unbelievable game,” said Nevada tight end Zach Sudfeld, who had two touchdown catches. “Just the momentum swings back and forth. Just big swings on both sides. It was a crazy game to play in.”
Cody Fajardo threw for three touchdowns and ran for another score to lead the Wolf Pack (7-6). He completed 22 of 31 passes for 256 yards and rushed for 140 yards. Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson, the nation’s second-leading rusher, carried 34 times for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns.
After a field goal with 1 minute 48 seconds left gave Nevada a 48-35 lead, Arizona mounted a 75-yard drive capped by Scott’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hill. The Wildcats then recovered the onside kick and reached the end zone again after 3 plays and 51 yards.
Rich Rodriguez, in his first season as Arizona’s coach, improved to 3-5 in bowl games.
SAM HOUSTON IN F.C.S. FINAL Quarterback Brian Bell ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as Sam Houston State built a 35-0 halftime lead and hung on to beat host Eastern Washington, 45-42, earning a trip to the Football Championship Subdivision championship game.
The Bearkats (11-3) set up a rematch with top-seeded North Dakota State, which won last season’s title game, 17-6.
The win over second-seeded Eastern Washington (11-3) was the Bearkats’ third straight over a Big Sky Conference team in the playoffs this year.
After Sam Houston State dominated the first half, the backup quarterback Vernon Adams tied an Eastern Washington record with six touchdown passes to pull the Eagles within a field goal with 3:02 left.
However, behind Tim Flanders, who ran for 231 yards, Sam Houston State ran out the clock.
VALDOSTA ST. WINS DIV. II TITLE The freshman Cedric O’Neal ran for 140 yards and a touchdown, leading Valdosta State to a 35-7 victory over Winston-Salem State in the Division II championship game in Florence, Ala.
Matt Pierce returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown for the No. 17 Blazers (12-2), the lowest-ranked team to win the title. They took a 21-0 halftime lead en route to their 10th straight victory and their first national title since 2007, Coach David Dean’s first season with the team.
Second-ranked Winston-Salem State (14-1) was trying to become the first historically black university to win the Division II title. But the Rams, who had lost in the semifinals last season, could not overcome six turnovers.
In the first five minutes, Valdosta State built a 14-0 lead against a team that had not trailed by more than a touchdown all season. Winston-Salem State had been averaging 42.6 points a game.
“They hadn’t been in that situation before and I didn’t know if they knew how to react to that, because they’d been blowing everybody out week after week,” Dean said.
PURDUE APPROVES COACH’S PAY Purdue’s new coach, Darrell Hazell, will earn at least twice the salary of his predecessor, Danny Hope. The university announced that its board of trustees had approved the hiring of Hazell at a base annual salary of $2 million including radio, television and marketing appearances plus as much as $1 million in bonuses.
Hope earned $950,000, the lowest salary in the Big Ten.

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