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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 47 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.
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:
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In a four-overtime game in 1996, Keith Smith set the Arizona record for most touchdowns responsible with seven — five passing and two rushing — in a 56-55 loss at California.
The scoring summary from that epic game played at Cal:
Most TDs Responsible For (TDs scored and passed for), Game: 7, Keith Smith, vs. California, Nov. 2, 1996 (five passing and two rushing)/
Pac-12 record: 8, Pat Barnes, California vs. Arizona, Nov. 2, 1996 (all passing)
NCAA record: 11, David Klingler, Houston vs. Eastern Washington, Nov. 17, 1990 (all passing)
Keith Smith also holds the Arizona record for most points responsible from the 1996 game at Cal: 42 points off the seven touchdowns.
Keith Smith is one of the most athletically gifted quarterbacks to play at Arizona. No example is better than what he achieved at California on Nov. 2, 1994, the first season in which overtime play was instituted in college football.
He accounted for a school-record seven touchdowns — five via the pass and two rushing — in an epic game against the Golden Bears, who held on for the 56-55 win in four overtimes after Dick Tomey decided to fake the extra-point attempt in the fourth overtime and failed as kicker Matt Peyton was stopped short of the goal line.
Smith was aided by the four overtimes — it was the longest game in college football history at the time — to achieve the mark but the feat is admirable nonetheless. He had four touchdown passes and one scoring run in regulation before completing a 25-yard touchdown strike to Jeremy McDaniel in the first overtime and rushing for an 11-yard score in the third overtime.
California quarterback Pat Barnes did one better than Smith in the game, accounting for a Pac-12-record eight touchdowns, all by the pass. Barnes completed three touchdown passes in the four overtime sessions.
Smith’s seven touchdowns and 42 points topped the previous Arizona record of six touchdowns, all via the pass, by Tom Tunnicliffe against Pacific in 1982.
”Our guy was pretty fair to middlin’, wouldn’t you say?,” Tomey was quoted as saying by the Tucson Citizen when the Bay-area press wanted to talk about Barnes. ”I wouldn’t trade Cal straight up, and I love Pat Barnes. I wouldn’t trade Keith Smith for any quarterback in college football.”
”We played hard and we stayed together,” Smith told the Citizen. “We just came up a little short. We wanted this game so bad. It’s frustrating.
”It took guts to call that (fake kick). It’s nobody’s fault. We all lost the game together.”
Arizona holder Ryan Hesson took the snap and flipped the ball over his head to Peyton, who was headed around right end. But Cal linebacker Andrew Rhodes was in Peyton’s path and made a tackle on the 5-yard line.
“I take full responsibility for the call,” Tomey said. “Whatever second-guessing there is, you should blame the head coach. Don’t blame the players. They played their buns off.”
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.