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. 14 as the kickoff to the Wildcats’ season — and the start of the Rich Rodriguez era — is only 14 days away.
SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 23, No. 2 UCLA Bruins 17
DATE: Nov. 1, 1980
SITE: Arizona Stadium, 42,876 fans in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Top-ranked Alabama lost earlier in the day to Mississippi State 6-3, opening the door for UCLA to claim the No. 1 spot. The second-ranked Bruins, however, competed against a Wildcat team that “was wild-eyed”, UCLA coach Terry Donahue was quoted as saying in an Associated Press article.
Arizona upset the Bruins, claiming its first victory over a team ranked in the Top 10 in the program’s history. The Wildcats, 0-14 previously against Top 10 teams, lost twice already at home that season to second-ranked teams — USC and Notre Dame. They were 0-4 in Tucson and 2-4 overall entering the game against the Bruins (6-0 overall).
“That’s the greatest upset I’ve been a part of,” first-year UA coach Larry Smith was quoted as saying by the Associated Press after the game. “The offense finally put it together with the run and pass and big play when we had to.”