Hail Mary sends Wildcats to 49-45 win over Cal

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California wide receiver Darius Powe (10) runs with the ball after a reception against Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) By Rick Scuteri California wide receiver Darius Powe (10) runs with the ball after a reception against Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) By Rick Scuteri

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona kept charging, no matter how many times California tried to pull away.

And with a record-setting flurry of scoring and one final miracle play, the always-entertaining Wildcats pulled off what may be their wildest victory yet.

Anu Solomon hit Austin Hill on a 47-yard Hail Mary on the game's final play and Arizona scored a school-record 36 points in the fourth quarter - 19 in the final 3:30 - for an improbable 49-45 win over the stunned Bears Saturday night.

"It's so improbable, at first you're so exhilarated, then you're like, `did that just happen?'" Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said.

The Wildcats had pulled a head-shaker like this once before, scoring twice in the final 46 seconds to beat Nevada 49-48 in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl.

This one may have topped it.

A record-setting performance by the quarterback. A recovered onside kick after getting a second chance. A scrambling final drive. The comeback capped by a senior who was injured last season pulling down a desperation heave in the back of the end zone.

Sheer joy on one side, utter deflation on the other.

"I don't think I've been through a game like that," Goff after his team's 15th straight Pac-12 loss. "It's so painful, but we have to get through it."

Cal (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) threatened to turn Arizona's whiteout into a blowout, deflating the Wildcats and their white-shirt-wearing fans with two quick scores and a 22-point halftime lead behind Jared Goff.

Arizona (4-0, 1-0) charged back behind Solomon, who threw for a school-record 520 yards and had four of his five touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats recovered an onside kick after Cal was called for a batting penalty and pulled within 2 after Solomon hit Cayleb Jones on a 15-yard scoring pass.

Arizona got the ball back with less than a minute left and pulled off the miracle when Hill, who missed last season with a torn ACL, brought the ball down between five Cal defenders.

Solomon shook off a pair of first half interceptions to complete 47 of 73 passes, both school records, and Hill caught eight passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, including the huge one at the end.

"About halfway, three-quarters of the way, I knew was it was heading toward me," Hill said. "I was just hoping no one would bump my elbow or jump on top of me so I could secure the catch. It was an awesome feeling to have the whole team jump on top of me, but at the same time scary."

Behind Goff, who threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns, Cal led 31-16 heading into the fourth quarter.

That's when Arizona kicked its high-octane offense in gear, marching for one score after another.

Solomon hit Hill on a 9-yard touchdown pass, then Jones on a 16-yarder after Khalfani Muhammad scored on a 50-yard touchdown run. Muhammad scored again on a 6-yard run to put Cal seemingly in good position, up 45-30 with just over 5 minutes left.

But the Wildcats kept coming.

Arizona marched for a 6-yard touchdown run by Terris Jones-Grigsby,then recovered a second try at an onside kick after Cal's batting penalty. Jones, who had 13 catches for 186 yards, pulled down a 15-yard pass from Solomon with 2:44 left, but the Wildcats' 2-point try failed.

With a chance to put the game away, Cal couldn't finish it off. James Langford hooked a 47-yard field goal left, turning the ball over to Arizona at its own 29-yard line with 52 seconds left.

Solomon completed a couple of short passes before finding Hill on a 20-yard pass that moved the chains and briefly stopped the clock. Arizona raced to the line and Solomon spiked the ball to set up the final shot at the end zone.

Hill came down with it, sending the Wildcats streaming from their sideline and the Bears collapsing to the turf.

"I told our guys, we always play 60 minutes," Rodriguez said.

They needed them all after California hit them with a pair of body blows early, scoring a pair of touchdowns on drives that took four plays and 56 combined seconds.

The Bears built on that lead, too, going up 28-6 after Goff threw three touchdown passes and Daniel Lasco, who had 123 yards, scored on a 44-yard run.

Cal still appeared to be in good shape in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 18 points on Langford's 45-yard field goal.

They just couldn't close it out, unable to stop the charging Wildcats or find Hill in the back of the end zone.

"We're sorry we didn't find a way to win the ball game tonight," Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. "But I told them it won't ever happen again."

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Cal loses 49-45 to Arizona on Hail Mary


TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- California coach Sonny Dykes shrugged and apologized, and said his team would learn from what had just happened.

After Arizona scored 36 points in the fourth quarter and won on a last-second Hail Mary, there wasn't much else he could do.

Anu Solomon hit Austin Hill on a 47-yard Hail Mary on the game's final play and Arizona scored 19 points in the final 3:30 to send the stunned Bears to a 49-45 loss Saturday night.

"We're sorry we didn't find a way to win the ball game tonight," Dykes said. "But I told them it won't ever happen again."

The Wildcats had pulled a head-shaker like this once before, scoring twice in the final 46 seconds to beat Nevada 49-48 in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl.

This one may have topped it.

A record-setting performance by the quarterback. A recovered onside kick after getting a second chance. A scrambling final drive. The comeback capped by a senior who was injured last season pulling down a desperation heave in the back of the end zone.

Sheer joy on one side, utter deflation on the other.

"I don't think I've been through a game like that," Goff after his team's 15th straight Pac-12 loss. "It's so painful, but we have to get through it."

Cal (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) threatened to turn Arizona's whiteout into a blowout, deflating the Wildcats and their white-shirt-wearing fans with two quick scores and a 22-point halftime lead behind Jared Goff.

Arizona (4-0, 1-0) charged back behind Solomon, who threw for a school-record 520 yards and had four of his five touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats recovered an onside kick after Cal was called for a batting penalty and pulled within 2 after Solomon hit Cayleb Jones on a 15-yard scoring pass.

Arizona got the ball back with less than a minute left and pulled off the miracle when Hill, who missed last season with a torn ACL, brought the ball down between five Cal defenders.

Solomon shook off a pair of first half interceptions to complete 47 of 73 passes, both school records, and Hill caught eight passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, including the huge one at the end.

"It's so improbable, at first you're so exhilarated, then you're like, `did that just happen?'" Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said.

Behind Goff, who threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns, Cal led 31-16 heading into the fourth quarter.

That's when Arizona kicked its high-octane offense in gear, marching for one score after another.

Solomon hit Hill on a 9-yard touchdown pass, then Jones on a 16-yarder after Khalfani Muhammad scored on a 50-yard touchdown run. Muhammad scored again on a 6-yard run to put Cal seemingly in good position, up 45-30 with just over 5 minutes left.

But the Wildcats kept coming.

Arizona marched for a 6-yard touchdown run by Terris Jones-Grigsby then recovered a second try at an onside kick after Cal's batting penalty. Jones, who had 13 catches for 186 yards, pulled down a 15-yard pass from Solomon with 2:44 left, but the Wildcats' 2-point try failed.

With a chance to put the game away, Cal couldn't finish it off. James Langford hooked a 47-yard field goal left, turning the ball over to Arizona at its own 29-yard line with 52 seconds left.

Solomon completed a couple of short passes before finding Hill on a 20-yard pass that moved the chains and briefly stopped the clock. Arizona raced to the line and Solomon spiked the ball to set up the final shot at the end zone.

Hill came down with it, sending the Wildcats streaming from their sideline and the Bears collapsing to the turf.

"I told our guys, we always play 60 minutes," Rodriguez said.

They needed them all after California hit them with a pair of body blows early, scoring a pair of touchdowns on drives that took four plays and 56 combined seconds.

The Bears built on that lead, too, going up 28-6 after Goff threw three touchdown passes and Daniel Lasco, who had 123 yards, scored on a 44-yard run.

Cal still appeared to be in good shape in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 18 points on Langford's 45-yard field goal.

They just couldn't close it out, unable to stop the charging Wildcats or find Hill in the back of the end zone.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Wildcats stun Cal with Hail (Hill) Mary

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon rolled to the right to create time and space, planted his feet and heaved the ball into the desert air.

Austin Hill jostled for position as he ran down the field, reaching the back corner of the end zone just in time to trace the arc of the ball.

It was headed right for him.

Hoping not to get knocked out of the way, Hill planted his feet and reached up, bracing for the impact that never came. Surrounded by gold-clad Cal defenders, the senior somehow came down with the nugget.

Hail Mary, answered.

A team known for snatching victory from seemingly hopeless circumstances, the Wildcats completed their most unimaginable comeback yet, capping a 36-point fourth quarter with a 47-yard pass from Solomon to Hill on the game's last play.

Arizona 49, California 45. Call it the Hill Mary Game.

"I don't think I've ever been in a game like that," Cal quarterback Jared Goff said.

Few have, though Arizona has been close.

In three seasons under coach Rich Rodriguez, the Wildcats have had a penchant for rallying behind their score-on-any-play offense.

Arizona had a big one in 2012, Rodriguez's first season, rallying from a 15-point deficit to knock off No. 10 USC. The Wildcats followed that up with a stunning victory over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl, scoring twice in the final 42 seconds for the 49-48 win.

This one will fit into the where-were-you-when-it-happened category for Arizona fans.

Staggered by two early quick touchdowns by Cal, Arizona trailed 28-6 at halftime and was still down 18 heading into the fourth quarter.

What followed was one of the greatest offensive shows in Wildcats' history.

Playing with a calm and confidence beyond his years, Solomon marched Arizona down the field for one score after another. A redshirt freshman, he threw four of his five touchdown passes in the quarter, including two to Cayleb Jones, and finished with 520 yards on 47-of-73 passing - all school records.

"He never panics," Rodriguez said.

Neither did his teammates.

Even after getting their offense rolling, the Wildcats trailed Cal 45-30 with just over 5 minutes left.

Arizona cut into the lead on a 6-yard run by Terris Jones-Grigsby and recovered an onside kick on the second try; Cal was called for a penalty on the first attempt.

The Wildcats cashed in quickly with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Solomon to Jones, but failed on the 2-point try.

Cal seemed to have the game in hand after gaining a first down on a pass interference call against Arizona.

Even when the drive stalled, the Bears had a chance to salt the win away, sending James Langford out for a 47-yard field goal.

He hooked it left, giving the Wildcats a final chance, though a slim one: 52 seconds left, starting on their own 29-yard line.

After completing a couple of short passes, Solomon hit Hill on a 20-yard completion with less than 10 seconds left. With the clock stopped to move the chains, the Wildcats raced to the line of scrimmage and Solomon spiked the ball just before the clock ran out.

Despite packing the end zone with defensive players, the Bears couldn't come up with the ball on the final play. It dropped right into Hill's hands, sending Arizona's players racing across the field in celebration and Cal's solemnly walking off toward the locker room.

"You have to get over it," Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. "Football games are 60 minutes for a reason."

Hill was quiet for most of Saturday night's game before catching a 9-yard touchdown pass from Solomon early in the fourth quarter. He kept catching passes, including the 20-yarder to set up the final play, and found himself at the bottom of a celebratory pile of teammates after his improbable grab in the end zone.

"There's nothing like a Hail Mary to finish the game," he said after finishing with eight catches for 127 yards.

Make that a Hill Mary.

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