Arizona Football: Ranking the Wildcats' 2012 Wins

Tom Greenhalgh@@Tom_GreenhalghContributor IIIDecember 23, 2012

Arizona Football: Ranking the Wildcats' 2012 Wins

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    Arizona had a handful of noteworthy victories in 2012.

    After narrowly escaping Toledo in Week 1, the 'Cats knocked off Oklahoma State in Tucson in Week 2.

    About a month-and-a-half later, Rich Rodriguez's club took out then-No. 9 USC.

    Find out where those two, as well as Arizona's six other wins, rank as we take a look back at Arizona's brightest moments of 2012.

8. Arizona 56, South Carolina State 0

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    Fresh off of an upset of then-No. 18 Oklahoma State in Tucson, RichRod's club faced its lone FCS opponent, South Carolina State.

    Any fear of a letdown performance was quickly eradicated as Arizona built a 28-0 halftime lead. 

    Matt Scott threw for three touchdowns and four different Wildcats ran for a score in Arizona's least suspenseful win of the 2012 campaign.

7. Arizona 24, Toledo 17 (OT)

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    A quick glance at the box score would lead many to believe Arizona had little trouble putting away Toledo on opening night.

    Yet, despite collecting over 600 yards of offense, the Wildcats notched just 17 points in regulation and 24 overall. 

    After two missed field goals, three turnovers and two touchdowns called back by penalty, Arizona found a way to outlast Toledo, 24-17, thanks to Matt Scott's overtime touchdown pass to Terrence Miller.

6. Arizona 56, Colorado 31

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    In the absence of Matt Scott, B.J. Denker completed 12-of-14 passes and added two touchdowns.

    But, Ka'Deem Carey was the real story. 

    The sophomore from Tucson recorded a school and Pac-12 record 366 rushing yards on just 25 attempts. He also added five scores in Arizona's 56-31 win.

5. Arizona 34, Utah 24

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    Arizona was fortunate to play two-thirds of its regular-season games at home.

    The road simply didn't treat the Wildcats well.

    Following road losses in Eugene, Palo Alto and Pasadena, Arizona took its last shot at an away victory in Salt Lake City against the Utah Utes.

    This time things were different. Led by Matt Scott, Arizona scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to capture a 34-24 win.

4. Arizona 52, Washington 17

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    Arizona's 52-17 win over Washington came at a time the Wildcats desperately needed it.

    Fresh off of back-to-back heartbreaking losses at the hands of Oregon State and Stanford, Ka'Deem Carey (172 yards) and Austin Hill (2 TD) keyed Arizona's offensive explosion.

    But the big story here was Arizona's much-maligned defense.

    After surrendering 38 or more points in three consecutive outings, the 'Cats held Washington scoreless in the second half.

3. Arizona 59, Oklahoma State 38

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    Rich Rodriguez collected his first big win as coach at Arizona when his Wildcats shocked then-No. 18 Oklahoma State, 59-38.

    Ka'Deem Carey ran for four scores and Matt Scott threw for two of his own in the 'Cats' offensive explosion.

    After jumping ahead 14-0, Oklahoma State surrendered 30 unanswered points to the inspired Wildcats, who never looked back.

2. Arizona 39, USC 36

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    Long before then-No. 9 USC faded into oblivion, the Trojans traveled to Tucson in hopes of keeping their national championship hopes alive.

    But, Arizona would have no part of it.

    And USC helped, too.

    The Trojans turned the ball over a whopping six times to offset nearly 500-yards of passing by Matt Barkley and 345-yards receiving by Marqise Lee.

    Austin Hill caught 10 balls for 259 yards and Matt Scott completed three passes for touchdowns in Arizona's 39-36 upset.

1. Arizona 49, Nevada 48

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    While Nevada wasn't one of the two ranked opponents Arizona knocked off in 2012, this was the Wildcats' biggest win of the year for two reasons: It was a bowl game and it propelled Arizona to an eight-win season.

    It doesn't hurt that Arizona won the game in improbable fashion.

    Down 48-35 inside of two minutes to play, the Wildcats, led by senior Matt Scott, scored to cut the lead to 48-42. 

    An onside kick recovery, a TD pass to Tyler Slavin, an extra point and an interception later, the 'Cats were crowned New Mexico Bowl Champions.