The following are remarks made by former Arizona Wildcats about their memories of their rivalry with ASU.
Check out the Top 15 wins by Arizona over ASU
Years at Arizona: 1981-82
Holt was an inspirational leader for the Arizona Wildcats after transferring to the UA as a junior college player in 1981. He helped the Wildcats enjoy success early in their Pac-10 existence, playing a key role in Arizona’s upset of No. 1 USC in Los Angeles in 1981 and Arizona’s start of “The Streak” against ASU in 1982. The winning tradition in the Holt household is carrying over to his son Justin, who is part of Salpointe Catholic High School’s winning program and an Arizona recruit.
“It was called the ’82 Sweet Streak’. I remember a very over-confident ASU team coming into the U of A stadium with roses painted on their faces. I also remember hearing our coach (Larry Smith) remind us that this was our house and this is our bowl game and to make it count tonight. He said, ‘Leave nothing to be questioned but much to be remembered’, and I think we did that. I remember the pressure we were able to put on ASU by forcing them to pass because the run game was not working, and our defense was bringing the heat and our offense was making their jailhouse defense pay every time they tried to blitz us. This was a game of fortitude, passion, intensity, commitment and determination for destruction on a very over-confident and disrespectful group of players who thought we were going to roll over. No, not in our house and we let it be known the roses they brought to our stadium were left in our stadium after we beat them. If I’m not mistaken we still lead in the all-time series against ASU in football (48-39-1).”
Years at Arizona: 1992-93
“The way our team came together and played in Tempe my senior year (in 1993). We had just lost at Cal so we couldn’t go to the Rose Bowl. A lot of teams would have shut it down, but we stuck together and gave Sparky a beating in his own house the next week that put us in the Fiesta Bowl versus Miami.”
Years at Arizona: 1982-85
Zendejas is the best placekicker in Arizona history, just ask ASU fans, who watched him beat them twice in Tempe in 1983 and 1985. He also made the game-winning field goal at Notre Dame in 1982. His nephew Alex Zendejas also beat ASU with a last-second field goal in Tempe in 2009.
“What I remember most is playing against my brother Luis and watching my dad switching hats after kicking the game-winning field goal and putting them out of the Rose Bowl. The 45-yard kick to beat ASU in 1983 and the 57-yarder which beat ASU in Tempe in 1985 are also what I remember. I broke that last record I needed to break (actually tying Lee Pistor with the longest field goal in school history of 57 yards).”
Years at Arizona: 1989-92
Position: Defensive back/Quarterback
Heath Bray was a defensive back during the development of Arizona’s Desert Swarm defense in the early 1990s. He also helped Dick Tomey’s offense as a quarterback. He has an appreciation of the Arizona-ASU rivalry having played in it and for living in the Phoenix-area among a majority of Sun Devil fans. He is as ardent of UA follower as anyone, calling the Sun Devils the “Mustard and Rust”.
“Derek Hill’s touchdown in ’88. Bobby Roland’s interception in ’90. But No. 1 has to be the ’89 game. They were playing really good, looking for a bowl, and we came to Tempe for my first trip there. They were talking a lot of trash, but we were ready to go to the stadium, and we had our last meeting with the team in the hotel. Coach (Dick) Tomey goes through the prep script and nothing different than any other game. As we are about to leave, he stops and says, “Hold on, I have something to show you”. Then we all sit back down and the lights go out. On the big screen comes an interview with their center that he did the night before. He invites us to play smash mouth football, and calls out a couple of guys, Chris and Kevin Singleton, and Zeno Alexander, and then at the end, says something to the effect of “Bring it On” to the camera. Well, needless to say, the quite tense meeting went crazy. Everyone was on their feet screaming and jumping and Coach Tomey just yells out ‘Lets go!’, and the rest is “Screaming Banana” history. God it’s easy to hate the Mustard and Rust.”
Years at Arizona: 1991-94
Position: Offensive lineman
“My best memory of the ASU game was from 1993. We were at our absolute low point. We had just blown our shot at the Rose Bowl against Cal and we were decimated by injuries. If ASU won, I think they were supposed to go to the Sun Bowl. If we won, the rumor was that we’d get another crack at Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. Chuck Cecil spoke to the team the night before the game at our hotel in Tempe. He was INTENSE!! ‘Reach down the devil’s throat, grab his little tiny heart, and CRUSH him!!’ It felt like Braveheart!! We could’ve played the game in the hotel parking lot. No one slept that night. The game was a three-hour brawl. Desert Swarm thumped Jake Plummer. Dan White sliced through the scummies like a surgeon. Afterwards, sure enough, Fiesta Bowl representatives were in our locker room to tell us we were going to face the Miami Hurricanes on New Years Day.”
Years at Arizona: 1984-86
Position: Running back
“My greatest UA-ASU memory is going 5-0 (against ASU) during my years at the U! Plus, when you run into some the A-State players and they cant say a damn word!”
Years at Arizona: 1990-92
Position: Offensive lineman
“My greatest memory of the rivalry was my first game in 1990 after transferring from Colorado. I had to watch as a spectator the year before and I was jacked sky high to be a part of this one. I remember the elation I felt when Bobby Roland picked off Paul Justin to seal the victory. The stadium went ballistic. That was my introduction to the rivalry live on stage and I loved it.”
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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.