All-Bowl Team

Heroes of the Holidays: The Arizona Wildcats All-Bowl Team


The Arizona Wildcats are not in a bowl game this season for the first time since 2011, breaking the longest streak of four games — all under Rich Rodriguez — in school history.

Don’t fret.

We have something that will take your mind off — at least for a bit — the 3-9 season and exclusion from the bowl festivities.

The following is our second publishing of the Arizona Wildcats All-Bowl Team. We think you will read this and say, “Oh yeah, I remember that.” If you don’t recall the feat, well, you are learning about Arizona’s bowl past.

Hope you enjoy it (the breakdown of the team is below the following graphic … click on the graphic to see an enlarged view):

ARIZONA ALL-BOWL TEAM

Quarterback

First Team — Matt Scott, 2012 Gildan New Mexico Bowl vs. Nevada

Arizona’s senior quarterback engineered the Wildcats to a miraculous 49-48 victory over Nevada three years ago. Arizona trailed Nevada by 10 points, with less than two minutes left, and the Wolf Pack possessing the ball at the Arizona 7.

Scott overcame two second-half interceptions by completed 8 of 9 passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns in the final two minutes. He finished with 382 passing yards on 28-of-47 passing.

“Those last two drives, you had to be almost flawless with the amount of time we had left,” Rodriguez told reporters after the game. “Matt Scott was flawless. Certainly that is why we won the game.”

Scott, as a senior, was an expected hero but unpredictable was unknown sophomore Tyler Slavin catching the game-winning touchdown pass on a 2-yard slant for his first career touchdown.

He was misidentified as injured Terrence Miller on ESPN and the public-address system because he had to change his jersey from No. 11 to No. 18 to avoid having duplicate numbers on special teams.

After Marquis Flowers recovered an onside kick, Scott engineered Arizona’s last drive 51 yards on three plays for the win. He Garic Wharton for 28 yards, Austin Hill for 21 yards and Slavin for the touchdown.

SECOND TEAM:

Willie Tuitama vs. BYU in 2008 Las Vegas Bowl. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran eight yards for the decisive score in the 31-21 win for Arizona.

HONORABLE MENTION:

B.J. Denker vs. Boston College in 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl (17 of 24, 275 yards, two touchdowns); Keith Smith vs. Nebraska in 1998 Holiday Bowl (11 of 19, 143 yards, 25 yards rushing); and Dan White vs. Miami in 1994 Fiesta Bowl (two touchdown passes to Troy Dickey).

Chuck Levy breaks free for a 68-yard touchdown run against Miami in the 1994 Fiesta Bowl, Arizona's longest run from scrimmage in its bowl history (YouTube video)

Chuck Levy breaks free for a 68-yard touchdown run against Miami in the 1994 Fiesta Bowl, Arizona’s longest run from scrimmage in its bowl history (YouTube video)

Running Back

First Team — Ka’Deem Carey, 2012 New Mexico Bowl & 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl

Carey, Arizona’s career rushing leader, has the two most productive performances on the ground in bowl games in school history. The Tucson product from Canyon del Oro rushed for a New Mexico Bowl-record 172 yards on 28 carries in 2012 against Nevada. He followed that performance a year later in the 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl against Boston College with 169 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Both of the bowl performances were in the midst of a 16-game streak for Carey topping 100 yards rushing.

First Team — Chuck Levy, 1994 Fiesta Bowl

Levy holds Arizona’s bowl record for the longest run from scrimmage — 68 yards — in the Wildcats’ whitewash of Miami in the 1994 Fiesta Bowl. Levy ran 17 times for 142 yards, earning Fiesta Bowl offensive MVP honors in Arizona’s 29-0 victory.

SECOND TEAM:

Trung Canidate vs. Nebraska in the 1998 Holiday Bowl and vs. New Mexico in the 1997 Insight.com Bowl. Canidate gained 101 yards on 22 carries in the victory over the Cornhuskers. A year earlier, he tallied 97 yards on 24 carries against the Lobos in Tucson in three quarters before leaving with an ankle injury.

Eddie Wolgast vs. Drake in 1949 Salad Bowl. The left halfback in Arizona’s T-formation had 133 yards rushing, eight more than Drake had as a team. Wolgast also rushed for two touchdowns in Arizona’s 14-13 loss in Phoenix.

HONORABLE MENTION:

David Adams vs. Georgia in 1985 Sun Bowl (13 carries for only 51 yards but 25 came on run that set up Max Zendejas’ potential game-winning 39-yard field goal with 10 seconds left that went wide right in the 13-13 tie). Also vs. North Carolina in 1986 Aloha Bowl (84 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown). Kelvin Eafon vs. New Mexico in the 1997 Insight.com Bowl (13 carries for 45 of his 75 yards in the fourth quarter in place of Canidate). Nic Grigsby vs. BYU in 2008 Las Vegas Bowl (87 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown).

Offensive Line

First Team — Joe Tofflemire, center, 1985 Sun Bowl vs. Georgia & 1986 Aloha Bowl vs. North Carolina

First-team All-Pac-10 and Football News second-team All-American in 1986 as a sophomore.

First Team — Glenn Parker, tackle, 1989 Copper Bowl vs. North Carolina State

First-team All-Pac-10 and Football News second-team All-American in 1989 as a senior.

First Team — Warner Smith, guard, 1994 Fiesta Bowl vs. Miami

First-team All-Pac-10 in the 1994 season as a senior, veteran on the offensive line against the Hurricanes.

First Team — Yusuf Scott, guard, 1998 Holiday Bowl vs. Nebraska

First-team All-Pac-10 in the 1998 season.

First Team — Eben Britton, tackle, 2008 Las Vegas Bowl vs. BYU

First-team All-Pac-10 in the 2008 season.

Wide Receiver

First Team — Troy Dickey, 1992 John Hancock Bowl & 1994 Fiesta Bowl

How ironic that three offensive players — Dickey, running back Chuck Levy and guard Warner Smith — are members of Arizona’s All-Bowl team in the same era as the Desert Swarm defense. Dickey belongs on this team with his productive games in the 1992 John Hancock Bowl against Baylor (9 receptions for 108 yards) and 1994 Fiesta Bowl (four receptions for 62 yards and two touchdowns). “I didn’t expect such a big point difference,” Arizona quarterback Dan White was quoted as saying after the Wildcats’ 29-0 win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. “I think it just proves the point that we’ve got a great team on offense and defense.”

First Team — Nate Phillips, 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl

Phillips caught nine passes for an Arizona bowl-record 193 yards against Boston College in the 42-19 victory two years ago. He also set the record for most receiving yards in a game by a freshman in school history. Phillips’ 57-yard reception in the first quarter matched his career long, previously set at USC on Oct. 10, 2013.

SECOND TEAM:

Terrell Turner vs. BYU in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl. He had four receptions for 111 yards, including a 71-yard reception from Willie Tuitama that he took to the BYU 1 yard line.

Austin Hill vs. Nevada in the 2013 New Mexico Bowl. Hill had eight receptions for what was then a school bowl-record 175 yards. One of his catches was a 63-yard touchdown pass from Matt Scott.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Brad Brennan vs. Nebraska in the 1998 Holiday Bowl (two receptions for 78 yards with a 15-yard touchdown and 63-yard reception). Delashaun Dean vs. BYU in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl (seven catches for 88 yards and a 37-yard touchdown). Juron Criner vs. Oklahoma State in the 2010 Alamo Bowl (nine catches for 47 yards and a touchdown). Cayleb Jones vs. Boise State in 2014 Fiesta Bowl (eight receptions for 117 yards).

Placekicker

First Team — Steve McLaughlin, 1992 John Hancock Bowl, 1994 Fiesta Bowl and 1994 Freedom Bowl

McLaughlin tallied seven field goals in the three bowl games. He made two field goals against Baylor in the John Hancock Bowl (now the Sun Bowl again), three against Miami in the Fiesta Bowl and two more against Utah in the Freedom Bowl (including a 44-yarder).

SECOND TEAM:

Mark McDonald vs. Nebraska in the 1998 Holiday Bowl. Put Arizona ahead 9-0 with three field goals in the first half, including a career-best 48 yarder in the second quarter.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Max Zendejas vs. Georgia in the 1985 Sun Bowl (made an Arizona bowl-record 52-yarder and was named one of the game’s outstanding players despite missing a 39-yarder with 10 seconds left that kept the game tied at 13). Kickoff specialist Jeff Valder vs. North Carolina in the 1986 Aloha Bowl (tied Zendejas’ mark of 52 yards, setting an Aloha Bowl record).

Punter

First Team — John Nies, 1990 Copper Bowl

Holds the Arizona bowl-record averaging 41.9 yards in 10 punts in the 17-10 victory over North Carolina State..

Returner

First Team — Chris McAlister, 1998 Holiday Bowl

Giving McAlister his due because his 72-yard reverse punt return for a touchdown was called back against Nebraska on a controversial blocking call against David Hall. Arizona still has yet to return a punt or kickoff for a touchdown in a bowl game although Charlie Hall returned a kickoff 73 yards against Drake in the 1949 Salad Bowl in Phoenix.

Defensive Line

First Team — Tedy Bruschi, 1994 Fiesta Bowl and 1994 Freedom Bowl

Recorded a sack and was named the Defensive MVP in Arizona’s 29-0 win over Miami in the 1994 Fiesta Bowl. In the following season, Bruschi was also the Defensive MVP of the Freedom Bowl against Utah with three sacks.

First Team — Ty Parten, 1989 Copper Bowl vs. North Carolina State and 1992 John Hancock Bowl vs. Baylor

Parten, only a freshman, prevented North Carolina State running back Aubrey Shaw from converting a fourth-and-one at the Arizona 26 with 3:03 remaining and the Wildcats clinging to their 17-10 lead (the final margin). Donnie Salum, a linebacker, was also in on the tackle. Parten later became a founding father of the Desert Swarm defense as a senior in 1992, leading a defense that limited Baylor to only 47 yards rushing on 43 carries in the John Hancock Bowl.

First Team — Jim Birmingham, 1985 Sun Bowl vs. Georgia and 1986 Aloha Bowl vs. North Carolina

Birmingham recorded seven tackles in the 13-13 tie with Georga in the Sun Bowl. The following season, he recovered a fumbled in the victory over the Tar Heels in Honolulu.

First Team — Jimmie Hopkins, 1994 Fiesta Bowl vs. Miami

The defensive end was a big part of the Desert Swarm’s success against the Hurricanes leading the Wildcats with two sacks.

SECOND TEAM:

The late Chuck Osborne against Utah in the 1994 Freedom Bowl. Recorded two sacks against the Utes in the 16-13 loss.

Linebackers

First Team — Jimmy Sprotte, 1997 Insight.com Bowl vs. New Mexico

Sprotte, Arizona’s inside linebacker, was selected the most outstanding defensive player with nine tackles, including four for lost yardage in the 20-14 victory over the Lobos.

First Team — Marquis Flowers, 2012 New Mexico Bowl vs. Nevada

Flowers was a significant reason why Arizona made its historic comeback against the Wolf Pack after trailing by as many as 22 points. Flowers, who had 10 tackles, recovered the onside kick that led to Arizona’s go-ahead touchdown with 19 seconds remaining. He then intercepted a pass to thwart Nevada’s last possession.

First Team — Scooby Wright III, 2015 New Mexico Bowl vs. New Mexico

Wright was the defensive player of the game Wright with two sacks and 11 solo tackles. He announced after the game he would forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Wright also had a standout game against Boise State in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. Despite Arizona’s loss to the Broncos, Wright had another All-American type game with 10 tackles, including two for loss.

SECOND TEAM:

C.J. Dozier against Nevada in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl. Dozier, forced to retire from football for medical reasons after the New Mexico Bowl appearance, led the Wildcats with 15 tackles (nine unassisted) as a true freshman. Danny Lockett’s sack of North Carolina quarterback Mark Maye in the 1986 Aloha Bowl caused a fumble that Arizona recovered. The turnover resulted in a Gary Coston field goal in the second quarter to put the Wildcats ahead 13-0 in the 30-21 victory, Arizona’s first bowl victory in school history. Marcus Bell in the 1997 Insight.com Bowl against New Mexico. Bell led the Wildcats with 10 tackles.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Jake Fischer vs. Nevada in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl. Fischer recovered his fourth fumble of the season in the win over the Wolf Pack. Sean Harris vs. Utah in the 1994 Freedom Bowl. Harris led the Wildcats with nine tackles in the loss to the Utes. Boomer Gibson in the 1986 Aloha Bowl against North Carolina. Gibson sparked the Wildcats with a blocked punt.

Cornerbacks

First Team — Chris McAlister, 1998 Holiday Bowl vs. Nebraska

McAlister tallied two interceptions for one of his best games in his career. One of the picks turned back Nebraska’s last try for a comeback with less than four minutes remaining in the Wildcats’ 23-20 victory

First Team — Scott Geyer, 1989 Copper Bowl vs. North Carolina State

Geyer intercepted the Wolfpack twice, one of which he returned 85 yards for a touchdown in the Wildcats’ 17-10 victory over the ACC visitors at Arizona Stadium.

Second Team

Marquis Hundley against BYU in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl. He intercepted a pass in the end zone, ending BYU’s scoring threat and preserving Arizona’s 24-14 lead with about 10 minutes left in the game. Martin Rudolph against Georgia in the 1985 Sun Bowl. He returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown in the 13-13 tie.

Safeties

First Team — Chuck Cecil, 1986 Aloha Bowl vs. North Carolina

Cecil, the Aloha Bowl defensive MVP, was directly responsible for two of North Carolina’s five fumbles in Arizona’s 30-21 win, its first bowl victory in school history. The three-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection, Cecil was given the nickname “Heat-Seeking Missile” by a North Carolina assistant coach after the Aloha Bowl because of his bone-jarring tackles.

First Team — David Liggins, 1979 Fiesta Bowl vs. Pittsburgh

Arizona safety Dave Liggins was named the Fiesta Bowl Defensive Player of the Game with his two interceptions of Dan Marino in the 1979 Fiesta Bowl (YouTube video capture)

Arizona safety Dave Liggins was named the Fiesta Bowl Defensive Player of the Game with his two interceptions of Dan Marino in the 1979 Fiesta Bowl (YouTube video capture)

The late Liggins has the distinction of intercepting Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino twice in the Fiesta Bowl, won by the Panthers 16-10. Liggins was selected the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Fiesta Bowl.

Second Team:

Tra’Mayne Bondurant vs. Boise State in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. Bondurant finished with 11 total tackles, two for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the Wildcats’ loss to the Broncos. Will Parks vs. Boston College in the 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl. Parks returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown in the Wildcats’ 42-19 win.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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