No. 48 — Underdog Arizona’s 2011 thriller over arch-rival Arizona Stateby Javier Morales on Jul. 15, 2012, under Sports
In the 50 days leading up to Arizona’s season-opener against Toledo, on Sept. 1 at Arizona Stadium, TucsonCitizen.com and its affiliate WildAboutAZCats.net will rank the Top 50 games in the history of the football program. The ranking is at No. 48 as the kickoff to the Wildcats’ season — and the start of the Rich Rodriguez era — is only 48 days away.
SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 31, Arizona State Sun Devils 27
DATE: Nov. 19, 2011
SITE: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, attendance 72,694
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Other than believing it is cool for the most recent win over Arizona State to follow the first in program history over the Tempe school, this game merits a ranking because of how the Wildcats won despite the odds. ASU was 6-4 under veteran coach Dennis Erickson and playing at home against a 2-8 Arizona team playing under interim coach Tim Kish, who replaced Mike Stoops after Stoops was fired following Arizona’s 1-5 start. Arizona, coming off a 48-29 loss to Pac-12 South cellar dweller Colorado, had appeared to be on its last legs in the fourth quarter, trailing ASU by 10 points. The Cats had lost 13 of their past 14 games against FBS competition. They were 10-point underdogs. They had not won a game all season as an underdog.
Gino Crump’s catch-and-run along the sideline, breaking tackles along the way, capped a 94-yard drive engineered by quarterback Nick Foles that got Arizona back in the game. On Arizona’s next possession, Juron Criner made a similar valiant run through ASU defenders to the end zone after catching a pass from reserve Bryson Beirne — the only pass attempt of the night for Beirne, who took over for the injured Foles. Criner’s 23-yard touchdown reception put the Wildcats ahead 31-27 with 5:18 left. ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler put the Sun Devils in position for a touchdown in the two ensuing possessions but one of his passes was intercepted by cornerback Jourdan Grandon and his last attempt to Mike Willie on the final play of the game from the Arizona 15 was broken up by cornerback Shaquille Richardson.
“That felt great,” said Crump, who planted Arizona’s flag at midfield of Sun Devil Stadium following the victory. “You dream about that as a kid. You grow up watching these kind of games and to have an opportunity to go out and spike our flag in our enemies’ territory in the middle of the field, you dream about that.”
>> The statistical rundown of the game from ArizonaWildcats.com
>> Anthony Gimino’s recap in TucsonCitizen.com: Arizona wins the ‘marathon,’ takes Cup from Arizona State in thriller
No. 49 — Arizona’s first win over arch-rival Arizona State, then known as Territorial Normal (WildAboutAZCats.net)
No. 50 — Arizona’s first win in program’s history: 22-5 over Tucson Indians
Javier Morales took first place in the 2010 Arizona Press Club’s Metro Sports Reporting category. For a different look at University of Arizona sports, check out Javier’s unique Web site: WILDABOUTAZCATS.net