Arizona Wildcats

QB Connor Brewer receives release from the Arizona Wildcats


Connor Brewer is becoming college football’s version of a nomad.

The former four-star quarterback recruit originally committed to Texas as part of the 2012 class. After a redshirt year with the Longhorns, Brewer decided to transfer to a school closer to home. The quarterback chose the Arizona Wildcats. After sitting out the 2013 season due to a NCAA transfer rules, Brewer was embroiled in a quarterback competition in 2014, but he was unable to overcome freshman Anu Solomon.

With the Wildcats’ starting quarterback spot settled, Brewer decided another transfer was his best course of action.

As a graduate transfer, Brewer will be immediately eligible for his next program.

Brewer once held offers from the Alabama Crimson Tide, Michigan Wolverines, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Stanford Cardinal, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans.

His current options, though, may be a little more limited:

Boise State regains top billing with 38-30 victory over Arizona in Fiesta Bowl


The Boise State Broncos are back, and it’s like they never left.

After an 8-5 record during Chris Petersen‘s final season with the program, Boise State appeared to be on a downward trend. The start of the 2014 season wasn’t promising either with a 35-13 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels to open the campaign. However, this year’s Broncos squad proved to be resilient.

The program reeled off 11 wins in its next 12 games and claimed a Mountain West Conference title. The Broncos were then anointed the top team among the Group of Five conferences and was granted a bid to the Vizio Fiesta Bowl.

The magic the Broncos experienced in two previous Fiesta Bowl appearances continued Wednesday. The nation’s 20th-ranked team held on for a 38-30 victory over the No. 10 Arizona Wildcats.

The win helped cement Boise State’s status as one of the elite programs outside of the Power Five conference.

“It’s huge,” Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin told ESPN’s Todd McShay after the game. “To be here and play a Top 10 team on this stage, I think it says a lot about what we’ve endured throughout the season to be where we are right now.”

Boise State finished 12-2 overall during Harsin’s first year with the program.

What has been built is Boise, Idaho, is bigger than the coaches leading the program. Since Dirk Koetter took over in 1998, the Broncos are 133-35 overall. Three different head coaching changes occurred between then and now, and the program continues to chug along.

The Broncos win by finding talent that is overlooked by other programs.

The best example on this year’s squad is running Jay Ajayi. The junior ran for 134 yards on 22 carries on his way to setting Boise State’s single-season records for rushing yardage and rushing touchdowns.

Undersized quarterback Grant Hedrick also posted a solid effort despite a poor second half. The senior completed 24 of 34 passes for 309 yards and a touchdown.

These were Boise State’s leaders on offense. Neither will be with the team next year. However, the program will continue to do what it does. It’ll win more games than almost anyone else in the nation.

Boise State’s Jay Ajayi shreds Arizona Wildcats defense during first half of Fiesta Bowl


The No. 20 Boise State Broncos feel at home playing in the University of Phoenix Stadium for the Vizio Fiesta Bowl.

The Broncos are making their third trip to the Fiesta Bowl in seven years. The difference this year is the Broncos aren’t determined to keep the game close.

Bryan Harsin‘s squad built an impressive 31-17 lead against the No. 10 Arizona Wildcats in the first half.

The game quickly turned in Boise State’s favor during the Bronco’s initial drive.

Four plays into the game, Broncos running back Jay Ajayi ripped off a 56-yard touchdown romp. He went untouchded through of the middle of the line of scrimmage. It wouldn’t be Ajayi’s only big run of the first half nor his only touchdown.

The running back started hot and didn’t cool off. Ajayi carried the ball 12 times for 107 yards and three touchdowns.

With his second touchdown, Ajayi broke two school records:

Ajayi’s second touchdown romp was done with style, too. Harsin decided to dust off the Statue of Liberty again, and it worked as well against the Wildcats as it once did against the Oklahoma Sooners in 2007.

As special as Ajayi’s first half was, Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick also played at a high level. Hedrick was nearly perfect through two quarters of play. Not a single pass the quarterback threw touched the ground.

Hedrick, the nation’s leader in completion percentage, was 17-of-18 passing for 272 yards and a touchdown. His only incomplete pass come from an interception by Arizona’s Cam Denson.

As explosive as Boise State proved to be on offense, Arizona was capable of moving the ball as well. The Wildcats gained 196 yards. They were able to close the gap to 11 points before giving up a late field goal just before half time.

Arizona needs to find a way to slow the Broncos in the second half. They’ve been unable to do so at this point. Meanwhile, the Wildcats defense can expect a big dose of Ajayi as Broncos try to control the third and fourth quarters.

Mariota, Ducks wrap up Pac-12 title, Heisman Trophy, playoff appearance


It’s been a banner year for the Oregon Ducks, and it’s only going to get better.

The first goal was checked off the list Friday when the No. 2 Ducks (12-1) claimed their second Pac-12 championship in four years with a 51-13 victory over the No. 7 Arizona Wildcats (10-3).

Each year, the primary goal for any team isn’t to win a national championship. It must first secure a conference championship. And Oregon effectively did so while rectifying the team’s only loss of the season.

Team success often comes with individual success.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is the heart and soul of the Ducks program. For three years, he’s led the program while shattering school and conference records.

Mariota posted a monster junior campaign and only added to it Friday with 313 passing yards and five total touchdowns. His performance this year is one of the record books, as FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman illustrated:

Mariota successfully threw a pass in every single game he’s played in as a member of the Oregon Ducks. He’s thrown 101 career touchdowns compared to only 12 interceptions. He broke the Pac-12 career record for most touchdowns accounted for. According to Oregon senior associate athletic director Craig Pintens, Mariota’s 53 total touchdowns are more than any of the previous four Heisman Trophy winners prior to their bowl games.

Just hand Mariota the Heisman Trophy now. Go on.

He’s ready and everything…

But a Pac-12 championship and even the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner — eventually, that is — aren’t the ultimate goal.

With their dominant victory Friday, the No. 2 Ducks clinched a spot among the final four teams in the first College Football Playoff.

The primary discussion heading into this weekend’s slate of games is whether or not Oregon deserves to be ranked No. 1 overall. The Ducks have the best non-conference win against the No. 8 Michigan State Spartans and completely controlled the Wildcats during the Pac-12 Championship Game.

The College Football Playoff committee supposedly resets the rankings each week based on what they saw during the previous weekend’s results. The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide could slide slightly if it struggles against the No. 16 Missouri Tigers in the SEC Championship Game.

In the end, it may not be all that important for the Ducks to be ranked first or second overall.

Oregon still needs two more wins to check off all of the boxes on this year’s wish list.

If the Ducks continue to play like they have over the last five games, the program could lay claim to its seventh Pac-10/12 conference championship, first Heisman Trophy and only national championship.

Oregon’s D overwhelms Arizona’s O during first half of Pac-12 Championship Game


Two of the nation’s most explosive offenses were set to meet at the Pac-12 Championship Game. Neither the No. 2 Oregon Ducks nor the No. 7 Arizona Wildcats have been able to get on track on a wet field at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco.

Despite sloppy play and a penalty-filled first half, the Ducks still lead 23-0 at halftime.

Usually Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota draws all of the attention. Mariota is only 14-of-27 throwing the football, but he also converted a pair of rushing touchdowns.

However, the leading Heisman Trophy candidate isn’t the primary story in this contest. Oregon’s defense has come to play, and the Ducks have absolutely dominated the Wildcats’ offense.

Mariota currently has more pass attempts (27) than Arizona has total yards of offense (25).

The Ducks shut down Arizona’s talented running back Nick Wilson, who had 14 yards on seven carries. This forced the ball into the hands of the Wildcats’ freshman quarterback, Anu Solomon. Solomon was 6-of-12 passing for 34 yards and gained minus-23 yards on his six carries.

Oregon’s defensive line — DeForest Buckner, Tony Washington, Alex Balducci and Arik Armstead — is playing its best game of the season.

The group is dominating at the point of attack against the run, and Solomon has been under pressure each time he drops back to pass.

As a result, Arizona was forced into a 3-and-out on six consecutive drives to end the half.

Oregon’s offense doesn’t even need to play at a high level in the second half if its defense continues to swarm Arizona’s offense. The Wildcats, though, will get the ball first at the start of the third quarter. It’s absolutely vital for Solomon and his surrounding cast to make something positive happen coming out of halftime. If they don’t, then Oregon could easily run away with their second Pac-12 championship in the past four years.