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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona falls 38-30 to Boise State in Fiesta Bowl despite late comeback attempt

Arizona+quarterback+Anu+Solomon+%2812%29+defeatedly%26%23160%3Bwalks+off+the+field+after+Arizonas+38-30+loss+against+Boise+State+in+the+Vizio+Fiesta+Bowl+Game+in+Glendale%2C+Ariz.+at+University+of+Phoenix+Stadium+on+Wednesday.
Rebecca Marie Sasnett

Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon (12) defeatedly walks off the field after Arizona’s 38-30 loss against Boise State in the Vizio Fiesta Bowl Game in Glendale, Ariz. at University of Phoenix Stadium on Wednesday.

Glendale, ARIZ. — The 44th annual VIZIO Fiesta Bowl featured a pair of highly touted top-20 teams and did not disappoint to entertain throughout. The No. 20 Boise State Broncos (12-2, 8-1) held off a furious second-half run from the shorthanded No. 10 Arizona Wildcats (10-4, 7-2) to secure a 38-30 victory.

After the Broncos started the game with a bang in the form of a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, the Wildcats looked in the midst of game that — for the most part — looked out of reach. Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick ended the first half nearly perfect, going 17-18 on his passing attempts for 272 yards, one touchdown and one interception, not to mention orchestrating a 56-yard touchdown on the first possession and a 57-yard touchdown on the second. Boise State ended up putting up 28 points of its 38 points in the first five drives of the game.

From Arizona’s perspective, head coach Rich Rodriguez offered little after the game other than the defense didn’t do its job against the Broncos early on.

“They executed a whole lot better,” Rodriguez said. “It was like it was against air. I mean, it wasn’t even challenged.”

Unlike Hedrick, Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon struggled to maintain his spurts of strong play. Solomon concluded 28-49 for 335 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions — the second of which directly led seven points for Boise State.

After rolling right deep in his own territory, Solomon looked to thread the needle and avoid a sack. Instead, he ended up throwing at BSU cornerback Donte Deayon, who returned it 16 yards for a touchdown.

“Moments like that, you’re just thinking … just to get this team back in,” Solomon said. “Once again, I failed.”

While Solomon was struggling, the Arizona defense stepped up in a big way, holding Boise State to just seven second half points. However,for a team that was already dealing with starters Austin Hill and Cayman Bundage facing disciplinary issues, the hits piled up early when senior standout safety Jared Tevis injured his elbow and did not return, and late, when starting running back Nick Wilson took a hard hit and did not return. The team’s second leading tackler and leading rusher were certainly missed both during BSU’s early push and late when it became a one possession game again deep in the fourth quarter.

“Jared is my brother,” UA safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant said about losing Tevis to injury. “I pray for him, wish him the best. Definitely was a big loss for us.”

Bondurant was among those who stepped up to fill the void left by Tevis and did not disappoint. The senior continued his career long trend of making plays, ending with team-highs in total tackles (11), sacks (one), tackles for loss (two) and forced fumbles (one) in his final game as a Wildcat.

After the game, Bondurant said losing the Fiesta Bowl doesn’t spoil what was a productive season.

“[I] definitely had a great senior season,” Bondurant said. “[I’m] blessed that I had a chance to even be here. Just thanking everybody for the opportunity. I appreciate the university and the coaching staff for everything.”

Bondurant’s sentiment of the season being successful was echoed by fellow senior Austin Hill — someone who has seen his fair amount of ups and downs in his five years as a Wildcat.

“Four years ago, we had lost our coach,” Hill said. “… We didn’t have a very good season at all. I didn’t really know at that point where the program was going to go. When coach Rod came in, he changed everything around. He made us believe and work and feel that we could make U of A a football school. I love him for that. He really has. I think it just took off this year.”

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