On December 15th, 2012, Allen Hardison made a 25-yard field goal to put the Nevada Wolf Pack up 48-35 in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl with just 1:48 left in the game. The game appeared to be all but over.
After the impending kickoff, Arizona started their drive at their own 25-yard line, and the first play was a screen to Ka'Deem Carey. Carey caught the ball, but then let it slip out of hands after being hit. The fumble was recovered by Garic Wharton, who was somehow able to pick the ball up and run to the sideline to stop the clock. In this instance, Carey fumbling might have saved the day for the Wildcats. They were without any timeouts, and had Carey just gone down without fumbling, precious time would've come off the clock.
With the extra time saved because of Wharton's heroics, Arizona's quick-strike offense went to work.
After two completions to Tyler Slavin, who was forced to wear Terrence Miller's number 18 (yeah, this game was crazy), the Wildcats were already down to Nevada's 42-yard line. Two plays later, a defensive pass interference call would put the Wildcats at the 27-yard line. There was still 1:18 left on the clock.
For some reason, Arizona then decided to run the ball despite having no timeouts and all it resulted in was a four yard gain, and 20 seconds coming off the clock. Only 58 seconds left.
Scott drops back and gets pummeled, but was able to get the pass off and he found Tyler Slavin again (the announcers mistakenly said it was Terrance Miller because of the in-game number change) for an 8-yard gain. Good enough for a first down, and it put Arizona at the 15-yard line. 51 seconds left.
After a pass interference call in the end zone put the Wildcats at the 2-yard line, Matt Scott snapped the ball with 46 seconds left, and found Austin Hill for the touchdown. Bonano made the PAT, and the score was 48-42. 42 seconds left.
Arizona was obviously forced to go for an onside kick, AND THEY GOT IT. They would start the drive at midfield. 40 seconds left.
On the first play, Garic Wharton caught a 28-yard pass, and the 'Cats were already at Nevada's 23-yard line. 34 seconds left.
Matt Scott then completed a 21-yard pass to Austin Hill along the sideline. He was able to get out of bounds, and stop the clock with 22 seconds remaining.
Then it happened. Tyler Slavin (again the announcers said it was Terrance Miller) beat his man off the line on a slant route, and Scott fired in a bullet for the touchdown. Tied at 48, with an extra point still to go.
We know how extra points are in no way a sure thing for Arizona football, so we still had to wait just a little longer before going completely nuts.
Bonano hit the extra point, and Arizona had taken their first lead of the game.
Nevada would still have some time to try to get into field goal range, but Marquis Flowers picked off a pass from Cody Fajardo on the very first play of their drive, and the comeback was complete.
49-48. Arizona came out on top.
The Wildcats trailed by as many as 17 points late in the third quarter, and had teammates literally throwing punches at each other on the sideline. Yet, they somehow found a way to win the game. I still can't believe it.
As we know, 12/15/12 would become one of the greatest days in Arizona Athletics history. After the surreal comeback by the football team in the New Mexico Bowl, the basketball team would follow it up with a comeback victory of their own against the 5th-ranked Florida Gators at the McKale Center. They were down by six with just over a minute left, and ended up winning on a Mark Lyons game-winner.
Here are the endings for both games, so you can re-live that incredible day: