Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats’ Top 50 games in history starts with only 50 days to kickoff

[tps_title]NO. 50 LAST YEAR[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Underdog Arizona’s 2011 thriller over arch-rival ASU [/tps_header]

The Arizona Wildcats celebrate their go-ahead touchdown late at ASU in 2011 (YouTube video capture)

The Arizona Wildcats celebrate their go-ahead touchdown late at ASU in 2011 (YouTube video capture)

SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 31, Arizona State Sun Devils 27

DATE: Nov. 19, 2011

SITE: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, attendance 72,694

WHY IT MADE THE LIST: This game merited a ranking because of how the Wildcats won despite the odds. ASU was 6-4 under veteran coach Dennis Erickson and playing at home against a 2-8 Arizona team playing under interim coach Tim Kish, who replaced Mike Stoops after Stoops was fired following Arizona’s 1-5 start.

Arizona, coming off a 48-29 loss to Pac-12 South cellar-dweller Colorado, had appeared to be on its last legs in the fourth quarter, trailing ASU by 10 points. The Cats had lost 13 of their previous 14 games against FBS competition. They were 10-point underdogs. They had not won a game all season as an underdog.

Gino Crump’s catch-and-run along the sideline, breaking tackles along the way, capped a 94-yard drive engineered by quarterback Nick Foles that got Arizona back in the game. On Arizona’s next possession, Juron Criner made a similar valiant run through ASU defenders to the end zone after catching a pass from reserve Bryson Beirne — the only pass attempt of the night for Beirne, who took over for the injured Foles. Criner’s 23-yard touchdown reception put the Wildcats ahead 31-27 with 5:18 left.

ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler put the Sun Devils in position for a touchdown in the two ensuing possessions but one of his passes was intercepted by cornerback Jourdan Grandon and his last attempt to Mike Willie on the final play of the game from the Arizona 15 was broken up by cornerback Shaquille Richardson.

Crump planted the Arizona block “A” flag at midfield of Sun Devil Stadium following the victory, the Wildcats’ last over the Sun Devils.

“That felt great,” Crump told the Tucson Citizen. “You dream about that as a kid. You grow up watching these kind of games and to have an opportunity to go out and spike our flag in our enemies’ territory in the middle of the field, you dream about that.”

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