WRITER’S NOTE: Here’s a feature to go with our countdown of the Top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history. We take a look at some of the best “one-year wonders” who didn’t make the Top 50.
To find arguably the best one-year wonder in University of Arizona football history, you have to go all the way back to … last season.
UA never has had a first-team all-conference quarterback since joining the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) in 1978, but Matt Scott was firmly in the discussion last season until concussion problems contributed to a tepid November.
Scott, with the right blend of arm and athleticism in the read-option offense, still earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors behind Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, giving first-year coach Rich Rodriguez the kind of quarterback boost he didn’t have when he started his troubled three-year run at Michigan.
He finished in style, too, throwing two touchdown passes in the final minute of the New Mexico Bowl, rallying the Wildcats to a wild 49-48 victory and stealing Offensive MVP honors after the media had voted midway through the fourth quarter for Wolf Pack quarterback Cody Fajardo.
Scott led Arizona to an optimism-building 8-5 record, finally fulfilling the promise of a career that failed to launch in 2009, when he started the first three games of the season before giving way to Nick Foles through 2011.
Scott’s one big season — No. 2 in school history in total offense (4,126 yards), No. 3 in passing yards (3,620), No. 3 in touchdown passes (27) — earned him a spot in Arizona lore, even if it wasn’t enough to land him on our top 50 countdown of the program’s greatest players.