Matt Scott had a pretty forgettable four years in Tucson playing for the Arizona Wildcats. After three seasons wallowing on the bench and seeing limited playing time as “change of pace” quarterback, Scott was redshirted his senior year as the Wildcats stumbled to a 4-8 2011 season. But 2012 brought a new coach, a new system and a brand new opportunity for the fifth-year senior to make an impact. He did not waste his shot.
When head coach Rich Rodriguez took over for Arizona, he had some work to do on the Wildcats roster. Rodriguez’s patented spread offensive attack requires a certain kind of athlete to run it effectively, particularly in the quarterback position. Thanks to a number of transfers, the depth at quarterback was razor thin which gave Scott a chance to step up and show the new coach what he had to offer. Luckily for Arizona, it was just what the Wildcats needed.
Scott brings a bit of athleticism to the quarterback position that got him onto the field early in his career for certain packages. While he isn’t the runner that Rodriguez is used to having under center (like Pat White or Denard Robinson), Scott was enough to get the Rodriguez era off to a successful start in Tucson. The rushing attack was bolstered by the emergence of Ka’Deem Carey at running back and Scott’s ability to throw the ball made this one of the more balanced offensive attacks Rodriguez has coached.
The senior signal caller put together an impressive campaign in 2012. He led the Pac 12 in passing yards, throwing for 3,620 yards while completing 60 percent of his passes. He threw 27 touchdowns, good for third best in the conference, while throwing 14 interceptions. Arizona boasted the No. 16 ranked scoring offense in the country this season, averaging 38.2 points per game and Scott led the club in wins over bowl-bound clubs like the Toledo Rockets, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Washington Huskies and USC Trojans.
Then there was the unforgettable performance against the Nevada Wolfpack in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Scott threw for 382 yards with four total touchdowns with all three of his passing touchdowns coming in a 21 point fourth quarter rally. He brought Arizona back from 17 points down going into the final quarter, capped off by a pair of touchdown passes in the final 46 seconds of the game.
Arizona finished with its highest win total since 2009 and its first bowl win since 2008 thanks to the play of their senior quarterback. Matt Scott won’t get another opportunity to be a starting quarterback in his career, but he made the most of it in his one and only shot this season.