Arizona Football

2016 Arizona Wildcats football season countdown: No. 67 individual record

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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS

Only 67 days separate us from the start of Rich Rodriguez’s fifth season, when the Arizona Wildcats football team plays Brigham Young on Sept. 3 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

As is customary on this Web site, we will count down the days with an interesting element associated with each day. This year the topic is the top 100 individual records in Arizona’s storied football past.

Compiling the list was no easy task, but it was feasible to do with the information provided in the record books by the Arizona media relations department, and we appreciate that.

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Ricky Stevenson was a heralded junior college recruit in 1968 whose speed was deadly on kickoff returns (Tucson Citizen file photo)

Ricky Stevenson was a heralded junior college recruit in 1968 whose speed was deadly on kickoff returns (Tucson Citizen file photo)

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In past years, we have counted down the top games and highlighted players and some of the top plays in Arizona Wildcats football history. A couple of years ago in our top 100 countdown, we showcased the 1914 team that was responsible for Arizona becoming the “Wildcats”.

Back to this year’s countdown of the top 100 individual records in the 117 years of Arizona football:

No. 67

Kickoff Return Average, Season: 37.8 yards, Ricky Stevenson, 1968 (9 returns for 340 yards)

Arizona's Ron Gardin (22) celebrates a touchdown against New Mexico in 1968 with Ricky Stevenson (Tucson Citizen file photo)

Arizona’s Ron Gardin (22) celebrates a touchdown against New Mexico in 1968 with Ricky Stevenson (Tucson Citizen file photo)

Arizona tailback-turned-cornerback Ricky Stevenson returned only nine kickoffs in 1968, but in those limited amount of returns, he made the most of it with an average of 37.8 yards. That is good enough for an Arizona record that has stood for 47 years now.

Legendary tailbackArt Luppino, the “Cactus Comet”, had 20 kickoff returns for an average of 31.6 yards in 1954, which was an Arizona record until Floyd Hudlow averaged 32.5 yards a return in 1963 on 13 attempts.

Stevenson, 5’11” and 188 pounds, achieved the record mark as a sophomore. He was an accomplished sprinter in high school and junior college recruited to Arizona by coach Darrell Mudra. One of the his kickoff returns in 1968 was a 97-yard sprint at Indiana (coached by Lee Corso), which was one yard shy of the record at the time held by Wallace Smith in a game at Whittier in 1935.


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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