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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 30 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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Max Zendejas went on a historic run in 1984 making 11 consecutive field goals, a feat that has endured as an Arizona record for 32 years.
MAX ZENDEJAS’ SCHOOL-RECORD STREAK OF 11 STRAIGHT FGs IN 1984:
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Most Consecutive Field Goals Made: 11, Max Zendejas, 1984 (First 5 games from vs. Fresno St., Sept. 1, to vs. Long Beach St., Sept. 29)
Pac-12 and NCAA record: 30, Chuck Nelson, Washington, 1981-82 (last 5 games in 1981, from vs. Southern
California, Nov. 14, and first 25 in 1982, ending with last attempt vs. Washington St., Nov. 20)
Arizona Republic clipping of Max Zendejas after he made the game-winning field goal as time expired at ASU in 1983. In the following season, after missing his first attempt in the opener against Fresno State, Zendejas went on to make a school-record 11 straight field goal attempts.
Max Zendejas’ storied career at Arizona included some dramatics off the field.
As has been documented at this site, Zendejas contemplated quitting the team at halftime of the historic game at Notre Dame in 1982 only to return to make the game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired.
Zendejas told me in a 2009 interview that he was upset that coach Larry Smith did not allow him to kick a 52-yard field goal with less than a minute left before halftime because Smith was concerned about the wind at hallowed Notre Dame Stadium. Zendejas finally came to his senses and returned to deliver one of the greatest wins in Arizona history.
In Arizona’s near-uspet of LSU in Baton Rouge in 1984, Zendejas missed the team flight and had to board a later plane that didn’t reach that destination until after midnight. Smith said Zendejas missed that flight because he strayed off to buy batteries for his walkman after a team lunch, while the others boarded the bus to the airport.
The tardy Mr. Zendejas almost gave Arizona one of the great upset victories in school history, kicking field goals of 50, 49, 34 and 33 yards. In the final 30 seconds, Arizona opted to go for it on fourth down instead of letting Zendejas try a 60-yarder. The Wildcats failed, and LSU held on for a 27-26 victory.
“I was pumped for that,” Zendejas told the Arizona Republic about the potential 61-yard attempt. “I’ve made them that far in practice. If the snap and hold were good, I think I would have knocked it through. I wish I had the chance.”
Zendejas still contributed to Arizona history with those four field goals at LSU. They were part of a stretch of a school-record 11 straight made by Zendejas, a junior that season. After missing a 30-yarder in the opener against Fresno State that season, Zendejas went on his historic run, capped by a 54-yarder made against Long Beach State in the fifth game.
The remarkable run included four field goals of at least 49 yards.
Other Zendejas records at Arizona listed previously in this countdown:
38. Most Field Goals Made 50 Yards or More, Career: 14, 1982-85 (23 attempts)
54. Most Points Scored, Career: 360, 1982-85 (79 FGs, 123 PATs)
74. Field Goals Made, Career: 79, 1982-85 (attempted 107)
90. Most Consecutive Games Kicking Field Goal, Career: 18, 1982-84
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.