While the offense finally found its rhythm, Stanford's defense struggled to slow down Arizona's up-tempo style.
Ka'Deem Carey ran for 13 yards for the first of his three touchdowns, and John Bonano kicked a 34-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 10-7 lead later in the second quarter.
Nunes stayed steady and sharp, finding Levine Toilolo for a 12-yard touchdown pass to put Stanford back ahead 14-10. Bonano kicked a 33-yard field goal to slice Stanford's lead to 14-13 at half.
The pace picked up even more following the break.
Scott threaded a 27-yard strike to Terrence Miller inches short of the goal line that set up Carey's short touchdown run to put Arizona in front 20-14 less than 2 minutes into the third quarter.
Although the Cardinal prefer to play grind-it-out games and control the clock, Arizona simply wouldn't let them.
The teams traded touchdowns for most of the second half until Jourdon Grandon stripped Ty Montgomery after a 16-yard catch early in the fourth quarter. Arizona recovered and took over at Stanford's 45.
Scott quickly led the offense down field and hooked up with Miller for a 10-yard completion that gave the Wildcats a 48-34 lead — the biggest either side had all afternoon. Scott nearly surpassed the school passing record set by Willie Tuitama, who threw for 510 yards in a 48-41 win over Washington on Oct. 27, 2007.
Rodriguez opted to run the clock out with 45 seconds remaining from Arizona's own 19 with two timeouts and play for overtime, saying he "didn't want to make a mistake down there."
"Nobody is happy right now," Rodriguez added. "The effort is as good as I've hoped. We just need to work on executing."
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP
- Brad Rock: No BYU, but no regrets for Jabari...
- Defense, rebounding, big second half propels...
- BYU football adds California DL Kainoa Fuiava...
- BYU basketball: First-grader given royal blue...
- Morning links: Grading the BYU, Utah and USU...
- Utes drop heartbreaker at Oregon State, 71-69
- Live stream: High school drill team state...
- National Signing Day: List of where Utah...
- Morning links: Which Utah school has... 92
- Morning links: Grading the BYU, Utah... 76
- Utes drop heartbreaker at Oregon State,... 74
- After slow start, Runnin' Utes sprint... 49
- Utes receive commitment from Florida LB... 42
- BYU football: 2016 recruiting class... 42
- College football signing day central:... 34
- Morning links: Ty Detmer plays ping... 32