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. 38 as the kickoff to the Wildcats’ season — and the start of the Rich Rodriguez era — is only 38 days away.
SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 52, UCLA Bruins 14
DATE: Nov. 5, 2005
SITE: Arizona Stadium, 55,775 in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: UCLA was ranked No. 7 in the country with eight victories without a loss in 2005. Arizona, meanwhile, under second-year coach Mike Stoops, had only won five games in two seasons in the post-John Mackovic era heading into this game. Some would argue this game deserves to be rated higher in the Top 50 list because UCLA was the highest-ranked team to lose to Arizona since the Wildcats beat No. 1 Washington 16-3 in Tucson on Nov. 7, 1992. The Bruins, however, were not as invincible as their record suggested.
They were 5-0 in the Pac-10, but in four of those games, they won by a combined 17 points, including overtime wins over Washington State and Stanford. The Bruins had come from behind in the fourth quarter to win in three of their previous four games, including erasing a 21-point deficit a week previously against a Stanford team that finished 5-6. UCLA lost 66-19 two weeks later against No. 1 USC for the Pac-10 championship. Arizona also had a significant win before that with Stoops, winning in Tucson against No. 18 ASU 34-27 to end his first season in 2004. The Sun Devils were also not overwhelmingly great, either, losing to USC and Cal by a combined score of 72-7 that season.