Arizona’s season opener against NAU at Arizona Stadium on Sept. 2 is 21 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 42, No. 5 Oregon 16
DATE: Nov. 23, 2013
SITE: Arizona Stadium, 45,777 in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: The biggest win in the Rich Rodriguez era to that point was one for the history books for junior running back Ka’Deem Carey, a hometown talent from Canyon del Oro who made good. Carey ran for 206 yards and four touchdowns while becoming Arizona’s career leading rusher, and the Wildcats pulled off the monumental upset by taking advantage of numerous Oregon mistakes, shocking the fifth-ranked Ducks.
Arizona was coming off consecutive home losses, including a disappointing setback the week before against an average Washington State team. Oregon had a loss against Stanford but still had a Rose Bowl berth in its sight. The Wildcats, who improved to 7-4 with the win, gave Oregon a taste of its medicine with its up-tempo offense with Carey leading the way.
The running of Carey and quarterback B.J. Denker enabled the Wildcats to take a quick 14-0 lead. The Wildcats did not take the foot off the gas pedal and routed a top-five team for the first time since knocking off No. 2 Oregon in 2007.
Oregon (9-2) helped with three turnovers while turning it over twice more on downs to end its national title hopes.
Carey was the workhorse for Arizona as he had been all season, carrying a school-record 48 times while scoring on runs of 6, 1, 9 and 2 yards to break Art Luppino’s career record of 48 total touchdowns set from 1953-56. Carey also reached 3,913 career yards rushing, breaking the mark of 3,824 set by Trung Canidate from 1996-99.
“It means a lot. It means a lot to this program, to me, my family,” Carey said of the record to TucsonCitizen.com’s Anthony Gimino. “Being raised here, being born here, I felt I put on for Tucson. We had magic out here.”
Denker threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 102 more. Arizona had 304 yards rushing, a season-high against Oregon.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Denker, who was 19 of 22 passing, to the Associated Press. “This is a crazy win for our program, for our coaching staff, for our players, for our seniors. Everything went great today.”
Oregon Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions, his first since Nov. 17, 2012, against Stanford. The Ducks outgained Arizona 506-482 in total yards, but couldn’t overcome all the uncharacteristic miscues to lose consecutive road games for the first time since 2007.
Mariota’s first interception came on a spectacular play, kick-starting Arizona’s momentum toward the rout.
It came on Oregon’s first play from scrimmage, when Bralon Addison dropped a pass near the sideline. Arizona cornerback Shaquille Richardson snared the carom and flipped it back to teammate Scooby Wright as he was falling out of bounds. It ended Mariota’s Pac-12 record streak of passes without an interception at 353. Carey followed with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Richardson sealed the upset with an interception near the goal line late in the fourth quarter and the fans ran from the stands on to the field once the final horn sounded.
“Those seniors will have a memory that will last them a long time,” Rodriguez told the AP.
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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.