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. 40 as the kickoff to the Wildcats’ season — and the start of the Rich Rodriguez era — is only 40 days away.
SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 35, USC Trojans 26
DATE: October 20, 1990
SITE: Los Angeles Coliseum, 68,212 in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: The “Fumblerooski Game” in which Arizona beat USC and its former coach Larry Smith, enabled the Wildcats to sweep USC and UCLA for the first and only time in Los Angeles in the same season. It was also the first time Arizona beat the Trojans at the Los Angeles Coliseum since the Wildcats upset the top-ranked Trojans in 1981. USC was 5-1 and ranked No. 15 at the time of the 1990 game. It was coming off three consecutive trips to the Rose Bowl under Smith, who coached Arizona from 1980-1986.
Arizona offensive guard Rick Warren, a walk-on transfer from Pittsburg State College in Kansas, ran 28 yards on a fumblerooski in the fourth quarter, setting up what proved to be the winning touchdown. On second down from the 31, center Paul Tofflemire intentionally left the ball on the ground for Warren, who had lined up at left guard. As quarterback Ron Veal faked a handoff into the line and the Trojan defenders looked on bewilderingly, Warren picked up the ball and carried it 28 yards. The fumblerooski took the ball to USC’s 3-yard line. One play later, Veal scored on a 1-yard run to make the score 28-17.