Arizona Bowl

Arizona Bowl Notes: CDO’s Luke honored with Bijan Robinson Player of the Year award

Wyoming defeated Toledo ,16-15 , in the 2023 Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl on Saturday at Arizona Stadium. (Javier Morales/All Sports Tucson).

Former CDO running back and linebacker Kayden Luke was honored with the Bijan Robinson Player of the Year award in the second quarter of the Arizona Bowl, won by Wyoming 16-15 over Toledo on Saturday afternoon at Arizona Stadium.

The award, formerly known as the National Football Association Southern Arizona Chapter Player of the Year, is presented to Southern Arizona’s best high school football player. Luke helped lead the Dorados to an undefeated season and a 4A state title in 2023. He rushed for 217 yards on 31 carries with two touchdowns against Yuma Catholic in the championship game and was the first Dorado running back to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing in a season this year since Ka’Deem Carey achieved the feat in 2009.


According to a Salpointe official, former Lancer standout running back Bijan Robinson, now an NFL Rookie of the Year candidate with the Atlanta Falcons, purchased 400 tickets for families and children to attend the Arizona Bowl. Banners for the Bijan Robinson Foundation were prominently displayed in the north endzone seating area.


Toledo was without five players for the Arizona Bowl, including All-American cornerback Quinyon Mitchell, who is a potential first-round pick in the 2024 NFL draft. He had 45 passes defended and six career interceptions in four seasons with Toledo.

Quarterback Dequan Finn is transferring to Baylor and running back Peny Boone is in the transfer portal. Boone has narrowed his recruitment to Florida State, Kentucky and Louisville.


Toledo made its first-ever appearance in the Arizona Bowl on Saturday. The Rockets last played in Arizona Stadium in 2012 in a 24-17 loss to the Arizona. Toledo is 0-3 in the all-time series against the Wildcats. Wyoming made its third appearance in the last five years in the Arizona Bowl on Saturday. The Cowboys beat Georgia State 38-17 in 2019 and lost to Ohio 30-27 in overtime last year. Wyoming beat Arizona 26-24 in the program’s last game against the Wildcats in Arizona Stadium in 1976. The Cowboys are 4-10 against Arizona at Arizona Stadium.


Toledo Running back Jacquez Stuart’s 80-yard rushing touchdown late in the second quarter that put the Rockets up 10-6 broke the Arizona Bowl record of 77 yards, set by Nevada’s James Butler in the inaugural game in 2015 against Colorado State.


In the third quarter, the Arizona Bowl recognized Sabino head football coach Ryan McBrayer and CDO head football coach Dustin Peace for leading their teams to state titles in 2023.


Wyoming kicker John Hoyland won the MVP trophy of the Arizona Bowl for his three field goals, including the game-winning 24-yard FG as time expired. ⁦

He also kicked a 52-yard field goal early in the second quarter that hit the crossbar before bouncing through the uprights.

“I want you to know that I will take credit, John, when the ball was going and it was hitting the goal post, I went (blowing sound),” Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said with a smile to Hoyland. “It got over. That was a good omen.”


Bohl announced he was retiring in December after the Arizona Bowl. He went 61-60 in 10 seasons with the Cowboys. He was head coach at North Dakota State from 2003-2013, leading the Bison to three Division I-AA championships. His career head coaching record is 164-92.

Bohl praised the Arizona Bowl by commenting: “Big thanks to the Arizona Bowl. First class. I appreciate the city of Tucson, how you embraced what a bowl should really mean. And like I said, I’ve coached a bunch of bowl games all around the country, just top shelf, and that’s not coach speak, that’s speaking from my heart. So, I want to say thanks for the invitation. You staged a great game with two really good opponents.”

The game drew a crowd of 30,428, which is the fifth time in the bowl’s eight years of games that attendance eclipsed 30,000.


Squared Up Pizza co-founder Patrick McColley was given field access after the game to present his pizza to Wyoming when the Cowboys celebrated. Wyoming center Nofoafia Tulafono took a bite of the pizza and gave his approval.

FOLLOW @KEVINMURFEE ON TWITTER! writer Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.


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