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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 51 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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In 2008, Willie Tuitama broke the 25-year Arizona record for most touchdown passes in a career with his 67, topping the 46 achieved by Tom Tunnicliffe from 1980-83.
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:
Most Touchdown Passes, Career: 67, Willie Tuitama, 2005-08 (40 games), and Nick Foles, 2009-11 (35 games)
Pac-12 record: 116, Matt Barkley, USC, 2009-12 (47 games)
NCAA record: 155, Case Keenum, Houston, 2007-11 (57 games)
Nick Foles equaled Willie Tuitama’s career record of 67 touchdowns over his three-year career with the Wildcats after transferring from Michigan State.
Record Watch 2016: Arizona junior quarterback Anu Solomon is only 19 touchdown passes shy of tying Willie Tuitama and Nick Foles for the school’s career record. Tuitama amassed 67 from 2005-08 and Foles equaled that mark from 2009-11.
For 25 years, Tom Tunnicliffe held the Arizona record with 46 career touchdown passes, a number Solomon has exceeded in two seasons. That indicates again how much Arizona’s offense has evolved into more of a passing attack than a ground-game affair under Larry Smith and Dick Tomey.
Dan White had the most career touchdown passes in the Tomey era with 43 from 1993-95.
Playing under offensive coordinators Mike Canales and Sonny Dykes in his career, Tuitama became Arizona’s most prolific quarterback until Foles followed him with an outrageous amount of records broken. Foles played under offensive coordinators Bill Bedenbaugh and Seth Littrell.
Foles threw three touchdown passes in his last collegiate game, a 45-37 win over Louisiana-Lafayette to end the 2011 season, to catch Tuitama’s career record. Foles entered the game questionable because of a rib injury suffered in the previous game, a 31-27 win at ASU.
“I knew this was going to be my last one,” Foles told the Associated Press, “so no matter what it was, I was going to go gut it out and get the ‘W’. It’s pretty sore, I’m not going to lie, but it was worth all of the pain.”
ARIZONA CAREER MOST TOUCHDOWN PASSES
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This is Foles’ eighth entry in the Arizona Wildcats individual records ranking and he will have more.
The others to date in our Arizona Wildcats football individual records ranking:
56. Highest Completion Percentage, Career (Min. 500 att): 66.8, 2009-11 (933 of 1396)
71. Highest Completion Percentage Season, More than 200 attempts: 69.1, Nick Foles, 2011 (387 of 560)
77. Most Passes Completed, Season: 387, Nick Foles, 2011 (12 games, 560 attempts)
81. Highest Completion Percentage, Game: 78.4, Nick Foles, vs. Stanford, Oct. 17, 2009 (40 of 51)
82. Fewest Passes Had Intercepted (Pct. of Attempts), Career (500 att): 2.36 percent, 2009-11 (33 in 1,396 attempts)
91. Most Pass Completions, career: 933, 2009-11
97. Total Offense in Career — 9,712 yards, 2009-11 (10,111 passing/-290 rushing/-9 receiving)
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.