Arizona is headed to its fourth bowl game in the last five seasons, on Sunday officially accepting a bid to the New Mexico Bowl. The Wildcats will play Mountain West Conference member Nevada on Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. MT. ESPN has the broadcast.
Speculation on Arizona's postseason destination bounced from San Francisco, to Las Vegas, to Albuquerque in the days after its loss to Arizona State. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl opted for ASU, and the Las Vegas Bowl is hosting Washington.
The Las Vegas Bowl's decision to invite a Washington team Arizona routed 52-17 on Oct. 20 is likely to draw criticism from Wildcat supporters. The Wildcats snapped a decade-long bowl drought in 2008 at the Las Vegas Bowl, where it beat No. 16 BYU, 31-21 in front of a sold out Sam Boyd Stadium.
Washington finished with the better Pacific 12 Conference record though, relegating the Wildcats to the league's last guaranteed bowl game. UA is the only Pac-12 team in the postseason with a sub.-500 conference mark.
In Nevada, UA sees an opponent with a similar offensive makeup. Head coach Chris Ault transformed a program in the Division I-AA ranks just two decades ago into a perennial bowl team with his Pistol offense. The Wolf Pack has ranked in the top 20 in points per game three of the last four seasons, and accentuated the abilities of current San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Cody Fajardo now captains the modified spread formation, but a name of particular interest to Arizona fans is Stefphon Jefferson. The junior running back finished No. 2 in rushing behind Wildcat sophomore Ka'Deem Carey. Jefferson fell just 54 yards shy of Carey's FBS-leading mark, and rushed for 22 touchdowns to Carey's 20.
Stay tuned to Arizona Desert Swarm for insight and previews leading up to the New Mexico Bowl.