Scores
PIONEER LAS VEGAS BOWL

Final

(25) BYU 21

(10-3)

Arizona 31

(8-5, 5-4 Pac-12)

Coverage: ESPN

8:00 PM ET, December 20, 2008

Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV

1 2 3 4 T
#25BYU 0 7 7 721
ARIZ 7 3 14 731

Top Performers

Passing: W. Tuitama (ARIZ) - 325 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: N. Grigsby (ARIZ) - 20 CAR, 87 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: A. Collie (BYU) - 11 REC, 119 YDS

Arizona grabs first bowl win in 10 years behind Tuitama's 325 yards, 2 TDs

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- After four years spent setting every major passing record for his school, it took three final touchdowns and plenty of long throws Saturday night for Arizona's Willie Tuitama to prove himself a winner.

"Nobody has endured more -- well, maybe me -- in the last four years," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said after the senior quarterback led the Wildcats to a 31-21 win over No. 16 BYU.

Fast Facts

• Arizona grabbed its first bowl win since the 1998 Holiday Bowl vs. Nebraska.

• BYU has played in the Las Vegas Bowl in each of the last four years, falling to 2-2 with the loss.

• The Cougars have lost five of their last seven bowl appearances overall.

• The victory marked the Pac-10's second win in eight games against the Mountain West this season.

-- ESPN research

"He'll go down in history at Arizona. His legacy is forever etched," Stoops said.

Tuitama finished 24-for-35 for 325 yards and two touchdowns, leading Arizona to its first bowl win in 10 years. He added a 6-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to give the Wildcats a 31-14 lead.

"We had a goal before the season started and tonight we finally reached it," Tuitama said. "I'll never forget to finally be in a bowl game with this group of seniors, on this team."

Arizona fans trickled onto the field as the last minute ticked off the game clock, then sprinted to midfield in celebration of the school's first bowl victory -- and winning season -- since 1998, when it finished 12-1 and beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.

Mike Thomas caught a 3-yard pass on the final play of the game to give him the Pac-10 career receptions record with 259.

Arizona handed BYU a tough end to a disappointing season for a team that spoke of making a BCS game at the beginning of the year.

"Ten and three is a solid season, but the standards here are much higher," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Our standards here are to win the conference championship and be on the national stage."

The Wildcats (8-5) kept the ball in the air most of Saturday night. Tuitama threw a 71-yard pass to Terrell Turner that set up the first score, a 37-yard touchdown to Delashaun Dean that gave the Wildcats the lead for good, and a 24-yard strike to Chris Gronkowski that sent Cougars fans toward the exits.

The Wildcats stifled BYU quarterback Max Hall throughout the game, forcing him to scramble often, lose two fumbles and throw an interception.

"We had to go with physical tackling -- we had eight guys in the box at all times," linebacker Xavier Kelley said. "We had our ups and downs, and this is tremendous. It's amazing, amazing."

BYU (10-3) lost its bid to win three straight Pioneer Las Vegas Bowls in four consecutive trips, ending a sloppy night with three missed field goals and 10 penalties for 76 yards.

"It was a good season, but not a great season," Hall said. "We just hit a lull as a team."

The penalties twice cost BYU prime chances to tie or take the lead. Three straight flags just before halftime turned a third and 1 at the Arizona 19-yard line into a third and 16, and Mitch Payne ended the drive by missing a 40-yard field goal wide left. Arizona led at halftime 10-7.

"Championship coaches don't coach a team to do that. I could have done a better job," Mendenhall said. "We were pressing."

The Cougars took their first lead of the game in the third quarter after Arizona lost a fumble at its own 29 on the first play of the half. BYU marched to the 1 with five running plays and Max Hall completed a play-action touchdown pass to Andrew George to put BYU up 14-10.

Nic Grigsby's 1-yard run on Arizona's first possession was set up by Turner's 71-yard catch. Turner cleared BYU's defense on the long pass play but was tackled from behind by Brandon Bradley just short of the end zone.

Grigsby fumbled deep in BYU territory on the next drive, turning the ball over at the 5 and ending a 62-yard drive without a score. But BYU fumbled on its next possession, resulting in a 31-yard field goal for the Wildcats.

BYU scored its first points midway in the second quarter, when Harvey Unga scampered into the end zone from the 1-yard line. Hall completed passes of 35 and 36 yards on the drive, including one to Austin Collie that gave the Cougars a first down on Arizona's 3-yard line.

Collie finished with 119 yards receiving, tying the NCAA record with 11 consecutive 100-yard games.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
BYU
ARIZ
1st Downs2220
Total Yards444416
Passing328325
Rushing11691
Penalties10-767-54
3rd Down Conversions8-159-14
4th Down Conversions0-00-1
Turnovers33
Possession32:4827:12

Passing Leaders

BYUC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Hall30/463287.111
ArizonaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Tuitama24/353259.320

Rushing Leaders

BYUCARYDSAVGTDLG
Unga17714.2111
Kariya3248.0016
ArizonaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Grigsby20874.4127
Thomas3124.009

Receiving Leaders

BYURECYDSAVGTDLG
Collie1111910.8036
Reed911713.0035
ArizonaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Turner411127.8071
Dean78812.6137

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBYUARIZ
TD06:23Nicholas Grigsby 1 Yd Run (Jason Bondzio Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERBYUARIZ
FG09:21Jason Bondzio 31 Yd 010
TD06:50Harvey Unga 1 Yd Run (Mitch Payne Kick) 710
THIRD QUARTERBYUARIZ
TD11:21Andrew George 1 Yd Pass From Max Hall (Mitch Payne Kick) 1410
TD07:07Delashaun Dean 37 Yd Pass From Willie Tuitama (Jason Bondzio Kick) 1417
TD00:25Chris Gronkowski 24 Yd Pass From Willie Tuitama (Jason Bondzio Kick) 1424
FOURTH QUARTERBYUARIZ
TD06:09Willie Tuitama 6 Yd Run (Jason Bondzio Kick) 1431
TD03:38Max Hall 1 Yd Run (Mitch Payne Kick) 2131