Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats Top 50 Football Games: No. 45


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We’ve changed the format of this blog a bit to have the countdown in our Arizona Wildcats Top 50 Football Game be shown as a slideshow starting at No. 50 (click on “next” at the upper or lower right to get started) …

Every day we will have data related to the number of days remaining to kickoff — Texas-San Antonio vs. Arizona — on Sept. 3 at Arizona Stadium. That game is only 45 days away.

Here’s some data related to the No. 45:

Anthony Gimino compiled Arizona’s best player by jersey number while with TucsonCitizen.com three years ago. The best No. 45 is former Arizona linebacker Antonio Pierce, who made his mark after his Wildcat career with a nine-year NFL career despite being undrafted. He is an ESPN NFL analyst while not serving as head coach of the powerhouse program at Long Beach Poly High School.

As a senior at Arizona, Antonio Pierce had three sacks, 77 tackles (10 for lost yardage), two forced fumbles, one interception and one blocked kick (University of Arizona photo)

As a senior at Arizona, Antonio Pierce had three sacks, 77 tackles (10 for lost yardage), two forced fumbles, one interception and one blocked kick (University of Arizona photo)

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For the third straight year, AllSportsTucson.com presents the Arizona Wildcats’ Top 50 games in the program’s history.

The ranking corresponds to the number of days left to the opening kickoff for the Arizona Wildcats against Texas-San Antonio on Sept. 3 at Arizona Stadium. We are only 45 days from the start of the 2015 football season.

The ranking each year is based on new research and judgments for all games, not just those from last season. This year, four new games join the ranking, including one played more than 50 years ago that — upon further review — deserves Top 50 status. The No. 1-ranked game last year may not be the No. 1 this year.

You can view the countdown by clicking on the “next” arrow at the upper or lower right …

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— Wearing No. 45 for Arizona this season is junior linebacker Derrick Turituri, who has played in all 27 games of his career. He started eight at linebacker last year and was key on special teams. He posted a career season-high 44 tackles with 32 solo stops. He acccounted for five tackles for lost yardage, including three sacks. His first career fumble recovery came against Washington.

— Former Arizona coach Miles Casteel had an impressive record of 45-26-3 from 1939-42 and 1945-48. The 45 victories was the most for an Arizona coach until Larry Smith went 48-28-3 from 1980 to 1986.

Mike Stoops won 45.1 percent (41-50) of his 91 games at Arizona from 2004 to 2011. Among the Arizona coaches who lasted at least eight years like Stoops, his winning percentage was the lowest and the only one below 50 percent. The next closest was Jim LaRue, who won 53.8 percent (41-37-2) of his games from 1959 to 1966.

— The last Arizona team to go unbeaten in a season was the 1945 team that went 5-0 under Casteel after the program was re-established following World War II. That team outscored its opponents 183-12 (NAU, San Diego State (played the Aztecs twice), Williams Field and Cal Poly-SLO).

— Before Anu Solomon shattered the record books with his 520-yard passing performance in the miracle Hail Mary win over Cal last season, Matt Scott held the record for most completions in a game with 45 at Stanford in 2012. Solomon connected on 47 of his 73 passes in the comeback victory over the Golden Bears.

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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:
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