Published Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 | 2:23 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 | 3:34 p.m.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Matt Scott threw two short touchdown passes in the final 46 seconds and college football's postseason started with a wild one when Arizona rallied past UNR 49-48 Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl.
Overcoming a slow start and three big turnovers, Arizona (8-5) recovered an onside kick in the last minute, setting up Scott's 2-yard toss to Terrence Miller with 19 seconds left for the winning score.
Arizona trailed 21-0 in the first quarter and was down 45-28 entering the final period. Scott threw for 382 yards and marched his team back into the game despite two earlier interceptions.
The nation's rushing leader, Ka'Deem Carey, gained 172 yards for the Wildcats and but fell short of becoming only the 16th running back in NCAA history to reach 2,000 yards in a season.
The teams combined for 1,237 total yards, the second-most of any bowl game.
Cody Fajardo threw for three touchdowns and ran for another score to lead the Wolf Pack (7-6). He had 256 yards passing and 140 yards rushing and controlled most of the game, completing 22 of 32 throws.
Stefphon Jefferson, the nation's second-leading rusher, ran for 180 yards for UNR and also seemed unstoppable as the Wolf Pack took a 21-0 lead and held on to it for most of the game.
But after the Wildcats held UNR to a field goal with 1:48 left, Scott drove the Wildcats down 75 yards in about a minute. Arizona then recovered an onside kick and Scott marched Arizona into the end zone after three plays and 51 yards.
Rich Rodriguez, in his first season as Arizona head coach, is 3-5 in bowl game appearances.