“Once we got rolling, our players believed they couldn’t lose. When Game Week came, it was ASU time. Everybody took on a special spring in their step. Our practices were excellent because I really emphasized to them that they can be up for it, but you have to play well. You have to play good football and let your emotions and momentum carry you with the rest of it. The big thing is the players did it and they believed they were going to do it. The guys would say you have an 11-game season. The first 10 games was one season. The second season was that one game.” — Former Arizona coach Larry Smith, the Father of “The Streak”, told Brad Allis in a 2006 interview.
The late Smith saw to it that Arizona turned the tide against ASU’s dominance over the Wildcats on his watch. He made it happen by generating “The Streak” — Arizona’s nine-game unbeaten streak against the Sun Devils from 1982-90. When Smith left Arizona for USC in 1987, Dick Tomey kept that streak going for four more years.
This insightful interview that Allis conducted with Smith is worth a listen. It occurred when Allis, now with WildcatSportsReport.com and 247Sports.com, was with Scout.com. You must have a Scout.com account to listen to the interview.
Smith also told a story I had not heard about leading up to Arizona’s 34-17 win over Rose Bowl-bound ASU in 1986, the game in which Chuck Cecil returned a 100-yard interception for a touchdown in front of a frenzied Arizona Stadium crowd.
“My old friend boss Bo Schembechler was in town because Michigan played the week before and was done,” Smith said. “They were gonna play in the Rose Bowl. So he came into town to scout ASU.
“I remember picking him up at the airport and I said, ‘I want to tell you something, you picked the wrong game to scout.’ He said, ‘What do you mean?’ Because we’re gonna kick their ass. He said ‘They’re pretty good.’ I said, ‘I know they are but you wait and see, we’re gonna beat the heck out of them.’ And we did.”
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner