Arizona Football

Memorable home finales for Arizona Wildcats greats ended with school records


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One of the most emotional days in Arizona Wildcats history was when Anthony Cook, Kenny Lofton and Tucson’s own Sean Elliott played in their last game at McKale Center on Feb. 23, 1989.

Arizona smoked Arizona State 109-74 behind Elliott’s 22 points, Cook’s three blocked shots and Lofton’s steal and defensive tenacity. Elliott left the school as the career leader in scoring, Cook the record-holder in blocked shots and Lofton with the most steals in Wildcat history.

Ka’Deem Carey can leave Arizona Stadium today as the Arizona Wildcats’ career rushing record holder.

Today will not have the same magnitude as Feb. 23, 1989 — how can anything top Elliott? — but Arizona Stadium will be a place without dry eyes for many.

Carey, a junior, will likely play his last game in his hometown after beginning his career in the Tucson Youth Football league. After leading the nation in rushing last year and coming close this season, the NFL beckons.

He needs 118 yards — well below his 150.3-yard average — to break Trung Canidate’s school record of 3,824 yards. He is only four touchdowns from breaking Art Luppino’s 57-year record of 44 career rushing touchdowns.

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Eighteen seniors will definitely be part of their last Arizona Stadium experience as a player today.

The list includes linebackers Jake Fischer and Marquis Flowers, quarterback B.J. Denker, wide receiver Terrence Miller, running back Daniel Jenkins, nose tackle Tevin Hood, cornerback Shaquille Richardson and defensive end Justin Washington.

It does not seem that long ago that Washington was a Sporting New Freshman All-American with 11.5 tackles for lost yardage and six sacks. Injuries and disciplinary actions derailed his career. He has one last chance to show fans at Arizona Stadium what he’s all about.

Cue the song “This is it” by Kenny Loggins.

For once in your life, here’s your miracle.
Stand up and fight.

Much like Elliott, Cook and Lofton in their last home game, a few Arizona Wildcats greats in football had special finales at Arizona Stadium.

Ricky Hunley and Tom Tunnicliffe concluded their record-breaking careers in Tucson in 1983 with a memorable 27-24 victory over a UCLA team that was headed to the Rose Bowl.

Hunley remains the UA’s career leader in tackles with 566. Tunnicliffe was the career record holder with 7,618 yards passing until Willie Tuitama passed for 9,211 yards in his career from 2005-08.

Oregon has spoiled Arizona’s seniors playing their last game at home before. In 1995, Oregon overcame a 10-0 deficit to beat Arizona and senior Tedy Bruschi 17-13 in a regionally televised game at Arizona Stadium. Bruschi remains the Arizona career sacks leader with 55.

The Ducks stopped the Wildcats in that game at the goal line after Arizona ran the ball four straight times. Tough way to lose. Bruschi suffered a difficult exit.

His legendary status is intact, however, as a College Football Hall of Fame Inductee. Win or lose today (the Ducks are 18.5-point favorites), Carey will be held in the same regard.

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WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.

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