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. 44 as the kickoff to the Wildcats’ season — and the start of the Rich Rodriguez era — is only 44 days away.
SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 32, Texas Tech Red Raiders 28
DATE: Oct. 18, 1975
SITE: Arizona Stadium, 39,854 in attendance (capacity was listed at 40,000 at the time before the expansion of the east-side upper-level seating the following season)
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Imagine the odds: Arizona, 2-22 in its series with nemesis Texas Tech (considered at that time the Wildcats’ most loathed rival behind ASU), without timeouts with 2:46 remaining in the game after the Wildcats’ controversial two-point conversion attempt failed, allowing the offensively potent Red Raiders to stay atop 28-27. Texas Tech had 25 first downs and 522 total yards against a UA defense that did not yield a touchdown in its 4-0 start heading into the game. Tucson Citizen beat reporter Steve Weston wrote that fans headed to the exits after UA quarterback Bruce Hill, masterful in the Wildcats’ comebacks from 21-13 and 28-21 deficits in the fourth quarter, was sacked on the two-point try. Arizona coach Jim Young did the unthinkable, going for the victory instead of the tie, after consulting with the players following Hill’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Theopolis “T” Bell.
A first down by Texas Tech would have ended the game because the Cats were without timeouts. Arizona’s defense, riddled all night by Texas Tech’s triple-option offense, stuffed the Red Raiders on three straight rushing attempts up the middle. forcing the Red Raiders to punt. Hill was presented the challenge of leading the UA to victory starting at the Wildcats’ 43-yard line with 43 seconds remaining. He drove the UA to the Texas Tech 24 yard-line with 11 seconds left, highlighted by an 18-yard pass to Bell. On came 18-year-old freshman placekicker Lee Pistor, a Phoenix product who opted to play for Arizona rather than ASU, for the game-winning 41-yarder.