Arizona head coach Mike Stoops and senior quarterback Willie Tuitama have finally led the Wildcats to a bowl game—against BYU from the Mountain West Conference.
Many had left Arizona for dead. After all, this is the same Mountain West Conference that won six of the seven regular season games that they played against the Pac-10. This is the same BYU team that can claim two of those wins, the same team that was 10-2 overall on the season and was ranked No. 17 going into the Las Vegas Bowl.
“We had a goal before the season started and tonight we finally reached it,” Tuitama said. “I’ll never forget to finally be in a bowl game with this group of seniors, on this team.”
Tuitama wasn’t just in a bowl game with his fellow seniors; he led the team to a 31-21 victory when no one gave them a chance. He led the team to their first bowl victory and winning season since 1998.
Willie Tuitama, the game’s MVP, finished 24-for-35 for 325 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a six-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Wildcats' defense forced BYU quarterback Max Hall to scramble much of the game, lose two fumbles, and throw an interception.
It was a win on many levels for the Arizona Wildcats, who finished the season 8-5. But many still wonder if the Las Vegas Bowl did enough to keep Mike Stoops as the Wildcats’ head coach?