To celebrate the local bowl’s milestone, the Review-Journal will rank the top 25 moments in Las Vegas Bowl history. We’ll relive one moment per day until game day on Dec. 17 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
No. 24: Arizona holds on to beat BYU
Date: Dec. 20, 2008.
Score: BYU 21, Arizona 31.
Back story: Sam Boyd Stadium was filled with snow after a winter storm hit the day before Las Vegas Bowl XVII. There was as much as eight inches of snow leading up to the big game. BYU, a cold-weather team, had the advantage over the desert squad, Arizona, but the weather didn’t matter.
Game: The Wildcats prevailed over the Cougars 31-21 on Dec. 20, 2008. Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama was named MVP. Tuitama had his best passing game of the season, completing 24 of 35 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Also, he ran for eight yards, including a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Also: Chris Gronkowski, the brother of New England Patriots star Rob, caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Tuitama in the third quarter.
Since: BYU, which has played in the Las Vegas Bowl six times, has been back twice after the 2008 game. Tuitama bounced around in arena football and last played in 2013 with the Nebraska Danger. Gronkowski, who played for four NFL teams, has been out of the league since receiving an injury settlement in 2013 from the San Diego Chargers.
Contact Gilbert Manzano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.