Arizona Football

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

[tps_title]NO. 48 LAST YEAR[/tps_title]

[tps_header]“The Streak” reaches three games, UA achieves best Pac-10 finish[/tps_header]

SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 16, Arizona State Sun Devils 10

DATE: Nov. 24, 1984

SITE: Arizona Stadium, 58,132 in attendance, second largest in school history at that time

WHY IT MADE THE LIST: “The Streak” — Arizona’s nine-game unbeaten run against arch-rival ASU from 1982 to 1990 — is an entity of its own. The 1984 victory for Arizona was not one over a very good ASU team — the Sun Devils finished 5-6 with their first losing season since 1976 — but conversely, the Wildcats (7-4 overall) had their best finish in Pac-10 history with a 5-2 record, tied for third with UCLA. Arizona was unable to participate in a bowl game, as it completed a two-year NCAA probation that season because of recruiting violations prior to the Larry Smith regime.

Max Zendejas, Sun Devil Killer No. 1, kicked three field goals, including a 52-yarder. Arizona linebacker Craig Vesling intercepted the third Jeff Van Raaphorst pass of the fourth quarter with 1:25 remaining to ice the game. Fellow linebacker Steve Boadway, who led the Pac-10 with 13 sacks in 1984, jarred the ball loose from Van Raaphorst, whose arm was in passing motion, and Vesling snared it before it hit the ground.

It was Arizona’s first three-game winning streak against ASU since 1960-62. In the accompanying YouTube video — at the 2:00 mark — UA receiver Jay Dobyns said after the game: “It’s just great to finish it this way. Nothing else will be able to compare with this, beating ASU. If it was anybody else, it wouldn’t be the same.”

Arizona capped a successful 1984 season despite a rash of injuries. Most notable among them: John Conner, slated as the starting quarterback at the beginning of the year, missed the season after having knee surgery. Running backs David Adams, Vance Johnson, Charles Webb and Rory Barnett sat at different times because of injuries. Starting left tackle John DuBose was lost early in the season with a knee injury. Dobyns played with a badly bruised thigh for some of the season. Boadway persevered through a sprained ankle suffered at LSU earlier in the season.

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