Arizona’s season opener against NAU at Arizona Stadium on Sept. 2 is 47 days away. To go along with the countdown to kickoff, this site will publish the Top 50 games in Wildcat football history.
SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 34, Arizona State Sun Devils 20
DATE: Nov. 26, 1993
SITE: Sun Devil Stadium, 73,115 in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: The Wildcats, 8-2 overall and ranked No. 19 entering this showdown with their arch-rival in Tempe, had a lot to prove.
For one, Arizona had lost two straight to ASU after “The Streak” lasted from 1982-90. Secondly, the Wildcats started the season 7-0 but lost two of three games, including road contests at UCLA and Cal that knocked them out of Rose Bowl contention.
Arizona’s lone road win in the Pac-10 up to that point that season was a 33-0 drubbing two months prior against a 4-7 Oregon State team.
Could the Wildcats turn things around against an ASU team that was on a four-game winning streak after a 2-4 start? A Fiesta Bowl appearance on New Year’s Day against the Miami Hurricanes was in the balance for Arizona if it beat ASU.
Arizona quarterback Dan White, a Penn State transfer who never lost in his first three starts against ASU, threw three touchdown passes in the second half as the Wildcat offense proved itself in a strong way.
The defense, anchored by All-American nose guard Rob Waldrop, was the best statistically in the nation.
When White hit Richard Dice on a 13-yard touchdown pass, the Wildcats took a lead — 14-10 with 4:19 left in the third quarter — that they did not relinquish. White also connected with receiver Troy Dickey on touchdown passes of 31 and 51 yards in the fourth quarter for a 27-10 lead.
White, not to be confused with former ASU quarterback Danny White, threw for 209 yards while completing 14 of 18 pass attempts. Billy Johnson finished with 126 yards rushing and Ontiwaun Carter added 101 yards on the ground.
The Wildcats finished strong despite losing Waldrop in the second quarter to a sprained knee that kept him from returning. They tied UCLA and USC for the best record in the Pac-10 at 6-2. UCLA won the tie-breaker and advanced to the Rose Bowl. Arizona coach Dick Tomey won his first game against his counterpart, ASU coach Bruce Snyder, after two tries.
“We played with so many guys banged up today,” Tomey told reporters after the game. “They really wanted this one. More than anything we wanted to beat ASU. We were tired of all the talk of nobody believing we could win this game.”
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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.