Football: Wildcats hold off Nevada rally
TUCSON, Ariz.(AP) — Anu Solomon threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns, Nick Wilson ran for 171 yards and Arizona held off Nevada 35-28 Saturday night.
Arizona (3-0) came into the game with the nation’s fifth-best offense and had another big night against the Wolf Pack, rolling up 507 yards.
Wilson ran for a pair of touchdowns and gave Arizona a 100-yard rusher for the 20th straight game, tied for longest in the FBS since 1996. Solomon finished 22-of-26 passing and threw two second-half touchdown passes to Cayleb Jones, who had nine catches for 116 yards.
Cody Fajardo kept Nevada (2-1) in it, throwing for 321 yards and three touchdowns, but the Wolf Pack turned the ball over on downs their last drive.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said after the 2012 New Mexico Bowl that he hoped to never face Fajardo again. The Wolf Pack quarterback lit up the Wildcats in that game, throwing for 256 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 140 and another score.
Fajardo, on the other hand, was looking forward to facing Arizona again. Despite having what may have been the best game of his career in the bowl game, Nevada lost the game 49-48 after the Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the final minute.
Fajardo had some success against Arizona early as the Wolf Pack picked their way down the field.
Nevada held the ball for the game’s opening 9:33 and had another scoring drive that lasted 6:08.
The problem for the Wolf Pack was how both ended: in field goals.
Thirty-two plays, 141 yards and more than 15 minutes resulting in just six points — a dangerous game against an explosive offense like Arizona’s.
The Wildcats needed just 1:50 to score their first touchdown, a 2-yard run by Wilson. The freshman scored the next one, too, bursting off left tackle for a 28-yard score.
Solomon, who threw an ill-advised interception early in the second quarter, showed off his athletic ability just before halftime, rolling to the left and throwing off his back foot to hit Tyrell Johnson perfectly in stride for a 35-yard touchdown.
Fajardo finally got the Wolf Pack into the endzone after that, orchestrating a quick 75-yard drive capped by his 7-yard touchdown pass to Jarred Gipson that cut Arizona’s halftime lead to 21-13.
The confidence of seeing six points go up on the board instead of three carried over into the third quarter, when Fajardo opened with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Hasaan Henderson.
Arizona had an answer. Two, in fact.
Solomon threw another touchdown on the run, this one going the other way, this one a 22-yarder to Jones. The Solomon-Jones connection worked again on the first play of the fourth quarter, a 24-yarder that put the Wildcats up 35-21.
Nevada and Fajardo still weren’t done.
He found Jarred Gipson on a 6-yard touchdown pass that cut Arizona’s lead to 35-28 and the Wolf Pack got the ball back at its 17-yard line with 3:04 left.
Fajardo took Nevada to near midfield, but his fourth-down attempt was just out of Jericho Richardson’s reach.