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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 12 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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Jason Johnson’s 99-yard pass completion to Brandon Marshall in 2001 broke the 14-year Arizona record of 94 yards, achieved with Bobby Watters’ completion to Alonzo Washington against New Mexico in 1987.
ARIZONA LONGEST PASSING PLAYS
Longest Passing Play: 99 yards, Jason Johnson to Brandon Marshall, vs. Idaho, 2001
Pac-12 record: Johnson to Marshall, and Jeff Tuel to Johnny Forzani, Washington State, vs. ASU, 2009
NCAA record: 99 yards, achieved 20 times, most recently Tommy Armstrong Jr. to Quincy Enuwa, Nebraska, vs. Georgia, 2014
The 99-yard Jason Johnson to Brandon Marshall connection against Idaho in 2001 is one of 20 times in NCAA history a pass play that long has been achieved.
The 95-yard touchdown completion from Brandon Dawkins to Trey Griffey against ASU last season was awe-inspiring with Griffey zig-zagging all over the field avoiding tacklers on the way to the end zone.
Only one other pass play in Arizona is longer: The 99-yard completion from Jason Johnson to Brandon Marshall in 2001 against Idaho at Arizona Stadium.
Griffey’s touchdown was mostly his work after catching a pass on a short route. Johnson’s arm strength and awareness of Idaho’s defensive alignment was responsible for the 99-yarder in 2001.
With Arizona at its own 1 in the second quarter, Johnson, who passed for 304 yards in the 36-29 win over the Vandals, first executed a fake to running back Clarence Farmer. Johnson looked toward Farmer, who broke through the line and was open at the 10-yard line.
Idaho’s secondary bit on the play, allowing Marshall to streak past safety Ighe Evero at midfield. One yard from the back of his own end zone, Johnson lofted a beauty, a 60-yard strike catching Marshall in stride for the 99-yard scoring play, leaving the 44,250 in attendance stunned.
“I knew it was there,” Marshall told the Arizona Republic after the game. “We practiced that play all week. Just before the play, I told Coach Mack (John Mackovic) it would work.”
That was Marshall’s lone reception of the game.
“We were faking the run inside and as soon as I faked it, I had the green light to go up top,” Johnson told the Arizona Daily Wildcat. “Brandon was the read the whole way, and if he wasn’t open, we had Bobby (Wade) on the side.”
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.