Arizona Football

This Date in Wildcat History: The “Cactus Comet” Art Luppino runs wild against New Mexico State

SEPTEMBER 18, 1954

Art Luppino

Nobody in an Arizona uniform will put up the kind of numbers that “Cactus Comet” Art Luppino produced against New Mexico A&M on this day 58 years ago. In what was the No. 39th game in my ranking of the Top 50 games in Arizona history, Luppino set a UA record for 38 yards per carry that stands to this day. Luppino rushed six times for 228 yards against the Aggies (who now go by New Mexico State) in the 58-0 win.

Luppino’s 359 all-purpose yards — he returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown — is also a UA record. He also rushed for four touchdowns.

Other September 18 happenings of note:

— Former UA and NFL receiver Bobby Wade started a UA-record 42 consecutive games receiving a pass against Stanford on Sept. 18, 1999. He caught at least one pass in each game the remainder of his UA career. He missed one game due to injury. Dennis Northcutt also received a pass in 42 consecutive games for the Wildcats between 1996-1999.

— Arizona upset No. 9 Iowa 34-27 at Arizona Stadium on Sept. 18, 2010, which was the last significant win of the Mike Stoops era. The game ended dramatically with Arizona sacking Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi three consecutive times on the Hawkeyes’ last possession. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Justin Washington was credited with two of the sacks. Brooks Reed and fellow defensive end Ricky Elmore combined on the other sack.

Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner

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