Arizona Wildcats football: Kicking game vastly improved, but Rodriguez wants more from special teams

2012-12-20T20:00:00Z 2012-12-24T07:54:22Z Arizona Wildcats football: Kicking game vastly improved, but Rodriguez wants more from special teamsBy Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 20, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

John Bonano did more than win a game when he hit two PATs and one onside kick in the final minute of Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl.

He may have finally snapped a UA curse.

Bonano and punter Kyle Dugandzic booted away the Arizona Wildcats’ reputation for kicking struggles in 2012, a season capped by last week’s 49-48, come-from-behind win over Nevada.

The Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the game’s final minute. Bonano’s perfectly placed onside kick made the final drive possible.

Matt Scott’s touchdown pass to Tyler Slavin tied the game with 19 seconds remaining; that brought out Bonano, who won it with a point-after.

“I’m just glad it came down to that,” Bonano said. “I gave the team an opportunity to win, and I did my job.”

Bonano connected on 14 of 20 field goals and hit 58 of 59 PATs as Arizona posted an 8-5 season. Dugandzic, another senior, ranks fifth in the Pac-12 heading into the bulk of the bowl season.

Still, Rich Rodriguez said he though the special teams “were just OK” in his first year as head coach. Rodriguez implemented a coaching-by-committee approach with special teams, deputizing assistants Spencer Leftwich and Tony Gibson to handle much of them. The head coach — and the rest of the assistants — contributed on a daily basis.

In Friday's Arizona Daily Star, read more about the Wildcats' special teams in the first of three days of stories looking back at Arizona's season.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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