ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —
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 down 75 yards in about a minute. Arizona then recovered an onside kick and Scott marched his team into the end zone after three plays and 51 yards.
“They scored 14 points in less than two minutes,” Nevada linebacker Albert Rosette said. “I’m still in shock right now.”
Nevada head coach Chris Ault said the team pass defense just didn’t make a play when it was needed.
“Well, it’s a sick feeling,” he said. “Congratulations to Arizona. They held in there and did it, but it’s a sick feeling.”
Ault said a late injury to Fajardo also hurt Nevada’s running game in the last six or so minutes of the game.
“He ran it one time, just tucking it up in there,” Ault said. “But we could not run our read game at that particular time.”
Rodriguez, who took a year off from coaching after a disappointing stint at Michigan, is now 3-5 in bowl game appearances. He called his New Mexico Bowl win among his best career wins as a coach.
“It’s the latest and the greatest so far,” Rodriguez said.