“The things I use the most are perseverance and optimism. As bad as things get, they can be turned around. If you have the discipline to do the fundamentals and stay your course, good things will happen.” — Former Arizona quarterback Tom Tunnicliffe, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times in a 1991 article.
Tunnicliffe was instrumental in Arizona upsetting No. 1 USC 13-10 in 1981. The victory over the Trojans is the greatest in the program’s history. The teams meet again tomorrow at Arizona Stadium at 12:30 p.m. with USC ranked No. 10.
Tunnicliffe, who played at 6-foot and 200 pounds, was not drafted and signed by an NFL team because of his height, but his resolve stood tall in some of Arizona’s biggest victories against USC, UCLA, ASU and Notre Dame.
USC’s vaunted defense in 1981 that included safety Ronnie Lott, cornerback Joey Browner and linebackers Chip Banks and Jack Del Rio only sacked Tunnicliffe once in the 1981 game. Former UA coach Larry Smith pointed out to the media after the game the sack occurred only because Arizona had just 10 players on the field.
The Wildcats are 5-15 against ranked USC teams. They have yet to beat a Trojan team ranked in the top 10 in Tucson. They are 0-6 in such games and 1-8 overall against ranked USC teams in Tucson.
Arizona’s lone win over a ranked USC team at Arizona Stadium was in 1999 when the 22nd-ranked Trojans lost 31-24. USC was held to minus-20 yards rushing. The Wildcats gained 307 yards on the ground led by Trung Canidate’s 194 yards on 31 carries. The Wildcats out-gained USC in total yards 550-271.
ARIZONA AGAINST RANKED USC TEAMS
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Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner