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. 4 as the kickoff to the Wildcats’ season — and the start of the Rich Rodriguez era — is only four days away.
SCORE: No. 14 Arizona Wildcats 34, No. 4 ASU Sun Devils 17
DATE: Nov. 22, 1986
SITE: Arizona Stadium, 58,267 in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: “You Can’t Smell Roses With A Broken Nose”
An Arizona fan lofted that sign high in Arizona Stadium as the Wildcats were delivering a knockout blow of historical proportions.
The punch that put an exclamation point on the victory was Chuck Cecil’s 106-yard interception for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The play, officially listed at 100 yards, is the greatest play in the history of the program.
The Sun Devils were 9-0-1 entering the game, already clinching a spot in their first Rose Bowl, and were challenging for a national championship. The Wildcats (7-2) had not beaten their arch-rivals this convincingly since 1964 when Jim LaRue’s team pounded Frank Kush’s 8-1 team 30-6 in Tucson.
The victory was the fifth straight by the Wildcats over their archrival during “The Streak” and earned them a berth in the Aloha Bowl against North Carolina, in which they won to notch their first bowl victory in school history.
The Sun Devils failed to notch their first undefeated regular season since 1975, when they went 11-0.