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Final: Arizona’s comeback bid falls short against Boise State in Fiesta Bowl

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Rebecca Marie Sasnett

Arizona corner back Cam Denson (3) intercepts the ball with less than a minute on the clock in the second quarter of Arizona vs Boise State Vizio Fiesta Bowl Game on Wednesday at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Boise State leads 31-17 at the half.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Arizona football’s comeback attempt came up short in the 44th annual VIZIO Fiesta Bowl.

No. 10 Arizona (10-4) lost 38-30 to No. 20 Boise State (12-2) after it couldn’t overcome a 31-17 halftime deficit and a 21-0 deficit to start the game. The Wildcats forced the Broncos to punt seven times in the second half and to seven points in the last two quarters, but it wasn’t enough.

Arizona gave up long touchdowns on the ground and in the air and on trick plays to start the game down 21-0.

Boise State outgained the UA for most of the game, but the Wildcats took the final yardage advantage 492-471.

BSU quarterback Grant Hendrick led the charge by completing 24 of his 34 attempts for 309 yards and rushing for 29 yards.

UA quarterback Anu Solomon passed for 335 yards, going 28-for-49 and ran for 32 yards on 23 carries.

Running back Nick Wilson ran for 86 yards on 19 rushes with a touchdown, before leaving the game. Terris Jones-Grigsby replaced him and ran for 39 yards on 14 carries.

UA safety Jared Tevis’ brother tweeted that the senior injured his elbow, knocking him out of the game.

Linebacker Scooby Wright had 10 tackles, two for loss. Safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant had 10 tackles, two for loss, a sack and a forced fumble that he recovered.

Key plays:


1st quarter

-Ajayi ran for a 56-yard touchdown for Boise State on the Broncos’ first drive with 13:18 left in the quarter

-On their next drive, Chaz Anderson scored a touchdown on a 57-yard pass with 9:17 left in the quarter

-On their third drive, Ajayi scored another touchdown, this time a 16-yard run on a Statue of Liberty play with 5:12 left in the quarter

-Arizona responded with a one-yard touchdown run by Solomon with 1:23 left in the quarter

2nd quarter

-After forcing Boise State’s first punt of the game, Solomon threw an interception, which led to a one-yard touchdown run by Ajayi with 11:56 left in the quarter

-With 8:03 left in the first half, Wilson cut Boise State’s lead in half with his second touchdown of the game on a one-yard leap into the endzone

-With Boise State driving down the field, UA cornerback Cam Denson intercepted a pass and returned it 31 yards to set up a 42-yard Casey Skowron field goal with :30 seconds left in the quarter

-Boise State kicker Dan Goodale hit a 36-yard field goal to push the BSU lead to 31-17 with :03 left in the quarter

3rd quarter

-Skowron kicked a 24-yard field goal with 9:11 left in the quarter

-Solomon threw an interception that was returned 16 yards for a touchdown with 1:57 left in the quarter

-On the next drive, Solomon connected with receiver Samajie Grant for a 51-yard touchdown pass with :41 left in the quarter

4th quarter

-With 9:17 left, Bondurant forced a fumble and recovered it. That led to a 32-field goal by Skowron

-With about 3:30 left, Arizona, down by eight, goes for it on 4th and 10 from the Bronco 35-yard line and Solomon throws an incomplete pass

-Solomon was sacked with about eight seconds left on the Boise State 10 yard line and the game ended

Check in with us later tonight for a full recap, analysis column and a column looking forward to the offseason.

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