2008 Las Vegas - Profiles, History & More
BYU QB Max Hall
BYU QB Max Hall
Posted Dec 19, 2008

Player profiles, team history, the breakout players, the best bowl moments and more for the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl.

2008 Las Vegas Bowl Profiles

BYU (10-2) vs. Arizona (7-5)

Dec. 20, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

Las Vegas Bowl History

2007 BYU 17, UCLA 16
2006 BYU 38, Oregon 8
2005 California 35, BYU 28
2004 Wyoming 24, UCLA 21
2003 Oregon St 44, New Mexico 14
2002 UCLA 27, New Mexico 13
2001 Utah 10, USC 6
2000 UNLV 31, Arkansas 14
1999 Utah 17, Fresno State 16
1998 N Carolina 20, S. Diego St 13
1997 Oregon 41, Air Force 13
1996 Nevada 18, Ball State 15
1995 Toledo 40, Nevada 37 (OT)
1994 UNLV 52, Central Mich 24
1993 Utah State 42, Ball State 33
1992 Bowling Green 35, Nevada 34
1990 Florida St 24, Penn State 17

Get Tickets for the Las Vegas Bowl 

- 2008 CFN Las Vegas Bowl Preview

Scroll Down For Each Team's Bowl History

By Richard Cirminiello

Best Cougar Bowl Moment: From 1978 to 1984, BYU and the Holiday Bowl were synonymous with the magic and excitement of the postseason. That was never truer than in 1980, when Jim McMahon and the high-voltage Cougars engineered an incredible comeback for the school’s first bowl triumph. Trailing SMU 38-19 at the start of the fourth quarter, BYU stormed back, pulling out a miraculous win when McMahon connected with TE Clay Brown from 41 yards out as time expired.

Best Wildcat Bowl Moment: Arizona makes its long-awaited return to the postseason, snapping a 10-year drought. Although they’ve yet to appear in the Rose Bowl, the Wildcats were pretty formidable between 1986 and 1998, winning five games in eight tries. The pinnacle was the 1994 Fiesta Bowl spanking of No. 10 Miami. Arizona created four turnovers and got 142 yards on the ground from Chuck Levy, pitching the only shutout in Fiesta Bowl history.

The Last Time You'll See ...

BYU: LB David Nixon. Nixon has been the steady rock of the defense for the past few seasons, playing as if he plans to follow former Cougars Bryan Kehl and Brady Poppinga into the NFL. A terrific athlete with sharp instincts as a run defender, he’s got 85 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and a BYU-best three interceptions.

Arizona: WR Mike Thomas. At 5-8 and 195 pounds, Thomas hardly fits the prototype in a world of receivers who look like redwoods. Stature is just one of the many hurdles he’s cleared to pull within four receptions of becoming the Pac-10’s all-time leading receivers. More than a deep threat, he was named to the all-conference first team as a receiver and a punt returner.

Breakout Player ...

BYU: LT Matt Reynolds. With Max Hall, Harvey Unga, Dennis Pitta, and Austin Collie in the same huddle, who bothers watching a freshman lineman, right? Because he’s got the tools to be one of the best blockers in the country before too long. A dominant force at 6-6 and 320 pounds, he’ll step out of the shadows of his senior linemates as soon as this game ends. 

Arizona: RB Keola Antolin. While only 5-8 and 180 pounds, when Antolin gets into open space, his size is irrelevant. He burst on to the scene in the Oct. 18 win over Cal, rushing for 149 yards and three touchdowns, and electrifying the offense with his quick cuts and darting moves. Just a true freshman, he has an exciting future in Tucson. 

Best Non-Game Event
Obviously, Las Vegas offers some unique settings for its bowl events. The team welcome reception takes place on a mini-Brooklyn Bridge outside of the New York New York Hotel with the amazing Las Vegas Strip as a backdrop. Elvis sings. Showgirls pose. It's a very memorable time. Then the teams go in to play games and eat at ESPN ZONE inside the hotel.

Also, the teams are treated to a world-class Las Vegas show on the Strip. Whether it's BYU going to see Blue Man Group in 2006 or UCLA heading to KA by Cirque du Soleil in 2007 or this year's teams heading in to Planet Hollywood Resort to take in Stomp Out Loud, you'd be hard pressed to find such entertainment options at any other bowl game.

Player Gift Package
Players from each school will receive a Wii System, an Oakley Holeshot 3hd watch, and a Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl hat

Charitable Component
This year, the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl has partnered with the group Cell Phones for Soldiers to raise funds to provide Southern Nevada troops deployed abroad with prepaid calling cards. Cell Phones for Soldiers is an organization founded by teens Brittany and Rob Bergquist that collects used cellular telephones and accessories and sells them to ReCellular, which then recycles the products. Proceeds are then used by Cell Phones for Soldiers to purchase prepaid calling cards that are distributed to members of the United States Military. Donations will be accepted through December 20, with the donation check and phones being presented at Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl XVII.

How Success is Measured
The Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl is looking at a fourth consecutive sold-out game in 2008, so the bar has recently been raised for attendance. An attractive matchup that produces an exciting game on the field is also paramount to an overall successful bowl experience. Of course, this is Las Vegas, and if nothing else, the bowl committee wants all the players, coaches, staff and fans to have a great time while visiting one of the most exciting cities on the planet.

MVP of the Bowl
The Pioneer Las Vegas has chosen not to single out any one individual from a group that it considers to be indispensable.

Impact to the Community
The Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl was introduced in 1992, then pitting the Mid-American champ vs. the Big West champ, for the purpose of filling hotel rooms on the Las Vegas Strip during what is traditionally a down period here—the week before Christmas. Now, even though Las Vegas has exploded in tourism numbers since that time, the bowl still is responsible for filling a good percentage of rooms each December. As the game has grown from sparse crowds to sold-out stands, the bowl has become a key part of the community's very busy event calendar.

Arizona Bowl History (6-7)
1998 Holiday Arizona 23, Nebraska 20
1997 Insight.com Arizona 20, New Mexico 14
1994 Freedom Utah 16, Arizona 13
1993 Fiesta Arizona 29, Miami 0
1992 John Hancock Baylor 20, Arizona 15
1990 Aloha Syracuse 28, Arizona 0
1989 Copper Arizona 17, NC State 10
1986 Aloha Arizona 30, North Carolina 21
1985 Sun Arizona 13, Georgia 13
1979 Fiesta Pittsburgh 16, Arizona 10
1968 Sun Auburn 34, Arizona 10
1948 Salad Drake 14, Arizona 13
1921 San Diego East-West Christmas Classic Centre 38, Arizona 0


BYU Bowl History (9-16-1)
2007 Las Vegas BYU 17, UCLA 16
2006 Las Vegas BYU 38, Oregon 8
2005 Las Vegas California 35, BYU 28
2001 Liberty Louisville 28, BYU 10
1999 Motor City Marshall 21, BYU 3
1998 Liberty Tulane 41, BYU 27
1996 Cotton BYU 19, Kansas State 15
1994 Copper BYU 31, Oklahoma 6
1993 Holiday Ohio State 28, BYU 21
1992 Aloha Kansas 23, BYU 20
1991 Holiday BYU 13, Iowa 13
1990 Holiday Texas A&M 65, BYU 14
1989 Holiday Penn State 50, BYU 39
1988 Freedom BYU 20, Colorado 17
1987 All-American Virginia 22, BYU 16
1986 Freedom UCLA 31, BYU 10
1985 Citrus Ohio State 10, BYU 7
1984 Holiday BYU 24, Michigan 17
1983 Holiday BYU 21, Missouri 17
1982 Holiday Ohio State 47, BYU 17
1981 Holiday BYU 38, Washington State 36
1980 Holiday BYU 46, SMU 45
1979 Holiday Indiana 38, BYU 37
1978 Holiday Navy 23, BYU 16
1976 Tangerine Oklahoma State 49, BYU 21
1974 Fiesta Oklahoma State 16, BYU 6

- 2008 CFN Las Vegas Bowl Preview