Good thing we didn’t have the Gildan New Mexico Bowl listed as one of our worst non-BCS bowls, you guys. Otherwise, we might have prematurely labeled it one of the snoozers of this bowl season and looked like a bunch of idiots.
Oh, we did? Whoops.
Which is what Nevada coach Chris Ault might be muttering to himself after allowing Arizona to score 14 points in less than two minutes to give the Wildcats a stunning and totally awesome 49-48 win over the Wolf Pack to kick off bowl season. Nevada looked to have the game secured with a 25-yard field goal with 1:48 remaining to give the Wolf Pack a 13-point lead. But, seeing as defense had been largely “optional” throughout much of the game, that gave way to the joke that’s also somewhat serious: perhaps Nevada had left a bit too much time on the clock.
A quick scoring drive by Arizona aided by some prevent defense and a successful onside kick not only allowed Rich Rodriguez‘s team to get back in the game, but to pull ahead with just 19 seconds remaining in the game. Ironically, the offensive showdown ended in a defensive play when Marquis Flowers intercepted a Cody Fajardo.
It was a game that had it all, including fighting! Arizona nose tackle Tevin Hood and linebacker Cody Ippolito exchanged some blows on the sideline in the first half with the Wildcats down early. Football is an emotional sport and there’s nothing particularly special about teammates fighting, but HEY IF YOU’RE DONE HITTING THE OTHER TEAM HIT YOUR TEAMMATES AMIRITE?
Arizona finishes its first season under Rodriguez with an 8-5 record and a win over USC, which was a top-10 team at the time. It’s a four-game turnaround from the 4-8 campaign a year ago. Nevada finishes the season at 7-6.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah