(Saturday, December 20th)
Final Score: Arizona 31, (17) BYU 21
Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Willie Tuitama threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, and Mike Thomas set a Pac-10 record with 259 career catches, as Arizona upended No. 17 BYU, 31-21, to win the Las Vegas Bowl.
Tuitama, who was named the MVP of the game, finished with 325 yards on 24- of-35 passing for Arizona (8-5), which was back in the postseason for the first time since taking down Nebraska by a field goal, 23-20, in the 1998 Holiday Bowl.
Thomas finished with four catches for 29 yards and Nic Grigsby ran for 87 yards and a score on 20 touches in the win. Delashaun Dean totaled 88 yards and a TD on seven grabs, while Terrell Turner led all Arizona receivers with 111 yards on four catches.
Max Hall notched 328 yards and a TD on 30-of-46 passing with an interception, but also ran for a score for the Cougars (10-3), who beat Oregon and UCLA from the Pac-10 Conference in the last two Las Vegas Bowls and were back in the event for the fourth straight year.
Harvey Unga racked up 71 yards and a score on 17 touches in the loss, while Austin Collie logged 119 yards on 11 grabs. Andrew George had a TD on two catches for 15 yards.
Trailing by 10 points late in the game, BYU crafted an onsides kick to keep their comeback hopes alive.
Starting at Arizona's 48, the Cougars traveled all the way down to the Arizona 20, where the drive stalled. However, Mitch Payne's field goal attempt went off the left upright and Arizona was able to run out the clock.
Arizona's first possession resulted in seven points as Grigsby punched the ball in from a yard out. The eight-play, 96-yard drive was highlighted by a 71-yard completion down the middle of the field from Tuitama to Turner that made it 1st-and-goal from the one-yard line.
Jason Bondzio's 31-yard field goal made it 10-0 Arizona with 9:21 left in the second quarter.
The ensuing BYU possession saw the Cougars take over at their own 22. On second down, Hall hit Michael Reed for a 35-yard gain down to the Arizona 43. Two plays later, Hall hit Collie for a 36-yard pickup to the Wildcats three.
Unga penetrated the goal line two plays later to bring BYU within 10-7 with just under seven minutes left before halftime.
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Tuitama fumbled and Coleby Clawson recovered at the Wildcats' 27.
Facing a 3rd-and-goal from the one, Hall took the snap, rolled to his right and hit a wide open George in the back of the end zone for a score, which made it 14-10 with 11:21 left in the third quarter.
BYU was held to a 3-and-out on its next drive and a mediocre punt set Arizona up at the Cougars' 40.
Grigsby had a three-yard rush on first down and Tuitama hit Dean for a 37- yard score on the next play, as the Wildcats assumed a 17-14 lead with just over seven minutes left in the third.
Justin Sorensen missed a 53-yard field goal wide right on BYU's next drive, and Arizona took over at its own 35. It took Arizona five plays before Tuitama hit Chris Gronkowski for a 24-yard TD to take a 24-14 lead with 25 ticks left in the third.
With 10:03 left in the game, the Wildcats embarked on an epic drive that started at their own 18. Arizona marched down the field and Tuitama scrambled six yards unscathed into the end zone to stretch the lead to 31-14 with 6:09 showing on the clock.
Hall then capped BYU's 10-play, 68-yard drive with a one-yard TD run to make it a 10-point game with 3:38 left in the game.
Arizona has a record of 6-7-1 in bowl games all-time, while the Cougars are 9-17-1...Arizona holds a 12-9-1 edge over the Cougars in the all-time series.
12/21 00:54:37 ET