Not everyone can get a game ball, but Arizona has plenty of players who deserve one after its 21-point comeback versus Nevada.
Austin Hill, Ka’Deem Carey and Matt Scott will garner most of the praise for fueling the miracle, but here are three Wildcats who made game-changing plays that they couldn’t have won the New Mexico Bowl without.
3. Shaquille Richardson
Nevada led Arizona 21-7 late in the first quarter and was driving. Cody Farjardo launched a bomb that, if caught by a Wolf Pack receiver, would’ve once again put the game out of reach. But on the Wildcats’ own 2-yard line, the pass was intercepted by junior cornerback Shaquille Richardson.
Richardson’s first interception of the season led to an Arizona touchdown, making it a one-score game instead of three.
2. Terrence Miller
Terrence Miller only caught 13 passes this season. With two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, he still hadn’t added to that total.
Down 10 points will 1:48 remaining, though, Scott fed the 6’4” senior tight end the football. He caught three passes for 37 yards in a span of five plays, which put the Wildcats within one score of Nevada. Then after Arizona recovered the onside kick, Miller capped off the comeback with a two-yard touchdown reception.
1. Defensive Front Seven
Nevada held a 10-point lead and the football on the Wildcats’ own 12-yard line with about three minutes to play. Arizona had just given up a first down on a 4th-and-1. It could’ve packed it in and surrendered a touchdown, which would’ve officially put the game out of reach.
Instead, the Wildcats stuffed three straight Wolf Pack runs and held them to a field goal, which kept it a two-score game. While the defense deserves criticism for allowing so many points, its heroic stand in crunch time made the offense’s success possible.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.