The bowl season got off to an amazing start in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl, and the action went all the way to the final seconds. Nevada felt that they had the game won as they held a 45-38 lead after kicking a field goal with just 1:48 left in the game.
However, Arizona's offense which had been great all day, but had struggled in the second half. They actually were down 17 points late in the third quarter, but the final 90 seconds is where the craziness really happened.
With Arizona down 45-38, they were driving down the field but they were aided with 28 yards of pass interference calls. Those penalties greatly helped Arizona, and the first penalty call was quite questionable, at best. Arizona had to use the passing game to move the ball, and that is a known weakness for Nevada. Arizona got within six points on a 2-yard pass from Matt Scott to Austin Hill.
Everyone in the stadium knew an onside kick was coming, but Arizona was able to recover the ball right around midfield. Arizona then completed passes of 28 and 21 yards to put the Wildcats at the 2-yard line, and then Scott completed another 2-yard touchdown to put them up 49-48.
Nevada had one last shot with a hail mary at their own 25, but that was picked.
The turn of events is amazing in this game, because had Arizona known that the Nevada was suspect in the passing game they would have thrown a lot more. They figured it out late in the game and were able to give Nevada yet another crushing loss in this game.
Nevada had the offense by 657 yards to out gain Arizona's 571, and Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo probably could be named the player of the game as he completed 22 of 31 for 255 yards, three touchdowns and two picks. Plus, he rushed for 139 yards and another score.
Then there was Stefphon Jefferson who rushed for 164 yards and two scores, but he was benched for a good portion of the second half due to yet another fumble he gave up in the first half. Nevada also set a new bowl record with 40 first downs.
The Nevada pass defense once again let down the entire team, it was not the deep passing game which caused them a few wins earlier in the year, but it was just the passing game in general. This loss has to sting as Nevada was in control for pretty much the entire game, but now they finish with a 7-6 record and have the entire offseason to think about this loss.