TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Casey Skowron gained redemption on a wild Saturday afternoon in Tucson.
Skowron kicked a 47-yard field goal as time expired to lift No. 17 Arizona to a 27-26 victory over Washington.
The junior had received Internet death threats after he missed a go-ahead 36-yarder in the final minute of a loss to Southern California.
”Every time I kick, I think about the USC game,” Skowron said, and then added that part of being a great kicker is being able to overcome ”things that have happened in the past and just go on to the next kick.”
Skowron, who also had an 18-yard touchdown run on a fake field goal, was wide right on his first attempt at the winning kick, but said he heard the whistle when the Huskies called timeout right before the play. He converted his second try.
It was the fifth time this season that Arizona (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12, No. 14 CFP) had to make a late play to win.
”We talk a lot about not being average because we want our guys to feel special and elite,” Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez said. ”As a football player or football program your status is based on wins. No matter how you win, you’re considered better than average when you do.”
That the Wildcats got the ball to even attempt the field goal was remarkable.
Washington (6-5, 2-5) was trying to run out the clock, but decided to hand the ball to running back Deontae Cooper rather than take a knee.
Tra’Mayne Bondurant knocked the ball out of Cooper’s hands and Derrick Turituri recovered for Arizona at the Washington 45 with 1:23 to go. Bondurant also recovered a fumble.
If the Huskies took a knee for three downs, there would have been 10 seconds or less left when they had to punt.
”With our chart we felt like we had to run the ball again and get a first down,” coach Chris Petersen said. ”They had one timeout left and that’s the information we got.”
After the recovery, the Wildcats moved to the 30 and left it up to Skowron.
Just before the winning field goal, Anu Solomon threw 34 yards to Caleb Jones, who made a tough catch in the back of the end zone for what initially was ruled an Arizona touchdown.
But a replay review showed Jones’ toe was on the line, wiping out the TD.
Arizona wouldn’t have been in position to win had Washington not botched the extra point on a bad snap following a third-quarter touchdown.
The Huskies gained 504 yards of offense, compared to 375 for the Wildcats.
But Cooper’s turnover was Washington’s third lost fumble of the game. The Huskies also were penalized 13 times for 111 yards.
”If you make too many errors, too many penalties and too many fumbles, that will catch up with you,” Petersen said. ”Eventually, it will slip away.”
Quarterback Cyler Miles fumbled at the Arizona 14 in the first half, and then lost another that led to a Wildcats touchdown in the crazy final two minutes of the first half.
Trailing 17-7, Arizona set up for a field goal try but Skowron took a direct snap and ran around the right side for the TD with 1:39 left.
On Washington’s next possession, Miles couldn’t handle a long snap, picked the ball up, and then fumbled and Bondurant recovered at the Huskies 19 with 33 seconds left in the half. Three plays later, Nick Wilson ran 8 yards up the middle for a touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 21-17 lead.
Dwayne Washington rushed 13 times for a career-high 148 yards for the Huskies. He burst through the line for a 66-yard touchdown run in the first half. And his 1-yard TD put Washington up 26-21 with 2:45 left in the third quarter. That run capped a 13-play, 74-yard drive. The errant snap made the conversion no good.
Solomon’s 63-yard pass to Trey Griffey set up Skowron’s 35-yard field goal that cut the lead to 26-24 with 13:08 remaining.
Washington had a 347-193 advantage in total yards in the first half but trailed at the break, thanks largely to nine penalties for 67 yards.
Cameron Van Winkle’s early 43-yard field goal attempt for the Huskies bounced off the right upright and was no good.