ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 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.