Arizona Football

The Great Debate — 1993 vs. 1998 Arizona Wildcats — Reader Polls


This season marks the 20th anniversary of the 1998 team with the best record in Arizona Wildcats history, 12-1, and the 25th anniversary of the 1993 team that went 10-2 with a win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

A debate among Arizona followers has developed over which team was better — the 1993 team that brought the program the famed Desert Swarm defense (one of the top units in the history of college football) or the 1998 team that finished No. 4 in the nation and came basically a half away against UCLA from going unbeaten.

My colleague Anthony Gimino wrote about this debate for the Tucson Citizen in 2013.

Both teams were coached by Dick Tomey, the winningest coach in Arizona history (95-64-4 from 1987 to 2000).

Please vote in the following reader polls, which are part of our daily countdown to Arizona’s season opening kickoff against BYU on Sept. 1.

Magnitude of bowl win

1993 Fiesta Bowl vs. Miami:

Arizona’s heralded “Desert Swarm” defense lived up to its name, and the Cats’ offensive attack came to life as the UA thumped No. 10 Miami, 29-0, in IBM OS/2 Fiesta Bowl. The convincing victory was the bowl’s only shutout in its 23-game history. UA ran for 257 yards and one touchdown, passed for 152 yards and two touchdowns, had three Steve McLaughlin field goals and held Miami to 182 yards in total offense. The Wildcats’ swarming defense limited the Canes to Fiesta Bowl record-lows of 22 rushes and 35 yards, plus picked off three Miami passes and sacked the quarterback four times.

Tailback Chuck Levy ran for 142 yards including a 68-yard scoring dash and earned Fiesta Bowl offensive MVP honors, while defensive end Tedy Bruschi recorded a sack and earned defensive MVP honors for UA.

UA jumped to a quick lead on its first possession, driving 75 yards with Dan White throwing a 13-yard TD pass to Troy Dickey. Arizona never looked back. The Canes’ total offense was the second-lowest in Fiesta Bowl history, and the Arizona margin of victory was the second-largest in bowl history. Arizona enjoyed a time of possession advantage of 37:20 to 22:40 for Miami, another bowl record. Miami’s frustration was typified by its first possession, starting at its own 37-yard line. Three plays later the Canes punted on fourth-and-41 from their own 6-yard line.

The game gave UA its first 10-victory season in 90 years of football, and its strong showing earned the Cats a No. 9 final ranking in the coaches poll and No. 10 in the AP poll.

Analysis: Miami finished 9-3 and ranked No. 15 in the AP poll. The Hurricanes went 3-3 against ranked teams. They were ranked as high as No. 3 starting 8-1 before losing to West Virginia 17-14 on Nov. 20. The Hurricanes were ranked No. 10 when facing Arizona. The Hurricanes, who were seventh nationally allowing only 13.9 points a game, had some heavy hitters including defensive tackle Warren Sapp and linebacker Ray Lewis.

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1998 Holiday Bowl vs. Nebraska:

“(Arizona coach Dick Tomey) kept telling us the ‘N’ (on Nebraska’s helmet) stood for ‘Not today,’” former UA receiver and special teams player Brandon Nash told Anthony Gimino in a 2009 Tucson Citizen article.

Arizona’s defense held the storied Nebraska option rushing attack to 87 net yards, and the No. 5-ranked Wildcats scored 14 fourth-quarter points and beat the No. 14 Cornhuskers, 23-20. The Cats secured the school’s finest record in history and earned enough acclaim through their efforts in the game — the most watched of any college bowl game in ESPN history – to earn a final No. 4 ranking in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN polls. Unanimous All-America cornerback Chris McAlister cemented his reputation with an outstanding effort, intercepting two passes,
one which turned the Huskers back on their final come-back try with less than four minutes remaining. He also had a 78-yard reverse punt return called back because of a questionable blocking call against Derek Hall.

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Nebraska claimed claimed a 20-16 lead with an eight-play, 88-yard drive. With 10 minutes remaining, the Cats ran the ball eight straight times for a nine-play, 68-yard drive which culminated on a Kelvin Eafon one-yard plunge. UA quarterback Keith Smith had runs of 20, eight and eight yards to set up the score. UA then stopped the Huskers with McAlister’s second pick and then later used enough clock with a first down to force Nebraska to get the ball back with 34 seconds remaining. One short completion and three incompletions, and the game was over.

Trung Canidate ran for 101 yards on 22 carries. Smith, who completed 11-of-19 passing for 143 yards and ran for 25 more, was named Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP. UA’s Mark McDonald, who was 8-17 in field goals during the regular season, was a big key with a perfect 3-for-3 day, including a career-long 48-yarder. Nebraska outgained the Cats, but UA won the turnover battle and kicking game

Analysis: This was not a vintage Nebraska team, which finished 9-4 and saw their four-game winning streak in bowl games snapped in Frank Solich’s first season after replacing the legendary Tom Osborne. It was the first four-loss season for Nebraska since 1968. The defeat denied Solich in his bid to become the school’s first coach to win 10 games in his first season. Nebraska, which finished No. 19 in the AP poll, was 1-3 against ranked teams and finished 4-4 after starting 5-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country.

Pac-10 performance

1993 Pac-10 schedule: Arizona finished as co-champions of the conference with UCLA and USC this season, all with 6-2 records. UCLA represented the Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl, winning the tie-breaker with the Wildcats and Trojans by virtue of their wins over both. The Bruins beat Arizona 37-17 in Pasadena, Calif., with the Desert Swarm defense yielding its most points of the season. Arizona entered that game ranked No. 7 with a 7-0 overall record and 4-0 in the Pac-10. Only Washington State (No. 25) and UCLA (No. 15) were ranked at the time Arizona played them. Arizona’s two conference losses were to UCLA and Cal. The Golden Bears finished 9-4 with a convincing 37-3 win in the Alamo Bowl over Iowa. The only Pac-10 teams to qualify for postseason bowls were Arizona, UCLA, USC and Cal. The Wildcats beat the Trojans 38-7 at home in the fifth game of the season. Only Arizona (No. 10), UCLA (No. 18) and Cal (No. 25) were ranked by the AP Top 25 after the bowl season. Conference teams other than Arizona went 22-10 against non-conference opponents.

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1998 Pac-10 schedule: Once again, UCLA stood in the way of Arizona winning the outright title and earning a spot in the ever-elusive Rose Bowl. The Bruins went 8-0 in the league and Arizona 7-1, the lone loss to the Bruins 52-28 on Oct. 10 at Arizona Stadium. Arizona took 28-24 lead with 6:15 left in the third quarter. UCLA scored 28 consecutive points in a devastating 6-minute, 10-second span to put itself in a position for the national title game. Arizona entered the game ranked No. 10 with a 5-0 record, 2-0 in the Pac-10. UCLA was ranked No. 3. Two other conference teams were ranked when Arizona played them — No. 20 Washington (Arizona won 31-28 in Seattle behind Ortege Jenkins’ “Leap by the Lake” and No 12 Oregon (the Wildcats trounced the Ducks 38-3 in Tucson). Five teams qualified for the postseason — Arizona, UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington. The Wildcats and Trojans did not play each other that season. Only Arizona (No. 4) and UCLA (No. 8) were ranked at the end of the bowl season. Conference teams other than Arizona went 20-12 against non-conference opponents that season.

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Regular season non-conference performance

1993 non-conference schedule:

Opp Rec Score Notes
UTEP 1-11 UA/24-6 Miners ranked 104th out of 106 Division I teams allowing 37.4 points a game
Pacific 3-8 UA/16-13 Pacific ranked 92nd scoring 16.7 points a game. Program cut in 1995.
at Illinois 5-6 UA/16-14 Illini went 5-1 after losing first three games that included win at No. 13 Michigan.

It turned out to be a weak non-conference slate. UTEP, Pacific and Illinois had a combined record of 9-25, a winning percentage of only 36 percent. Arizona won the three games by a combined total of only 23 points, scoring an average of only 18.7 points a game. The Illini was the best of the group, going 5-3 in the Big Ten. They were 1-4 against ranked teams, however, including Arizona, which was ranked No. 15 when the teams met in the second game of the season.

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1998 non-conference schedule:

Opp Rec Score Notes
at Hawaii 0-12 UA/27-6 Hawaii last out of 112 DI teams scoring 12.4 points/game and 106th allowing 35.2 points/game
Iowa 3-8 UA/35-11 Iowa ranked No. 104 scoring 15.6 points/game.
at San Diego St. 7-5 UA/35-16 SDSU 7-1 in WAC. Allowed only 20.6 points/game.
NE Louisiana 5-6 UA/45-7 Rare late non-conference game/eighth game of season.

The four opponents had a combined record of 15-31, a winning percentage of 48.4 percent. San Diego State was the only winning non-conference team either the 1993 or 1998 team faced during the regular season. The Aztecs went 0-4 outside the WAC including the loss to Arizona, ranked No. 16 when the teams played in the third week of the season. San Diego State lost to No. 20 Wisconsin 26-14 at home and No. 22 USC 35-6 in Los Angeles before losing to the Wildcats. The Aztecs lost 20-13 to North Carolina in the Las Vegas Bowl. Arizona’s winning margin against the four inferior non-conference teams was 25.5 points with Arizona averaging 35.5 points.

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Return game

1993 return game: Handling the punt returns were Chuck Levy and Richard Dice and Levy and Cary Taylor were the kickoff returners. Levy was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection as an all-purpose athlete (he was also an accomplished running back) in 1991 and 1993. Levy’s kick return average of 30.3 yards in 1993 remains the highest from the 1970’s on in program history. Ricky Stevenson (1968) holds the record of 37.8 yards. Taylor averaged 29.6 yards a kick return in 1993. Levy and Taylor rank No. 5 and No. 6 in the statistic in school history, respectively.

Chuck Levy breaks free for a 68-yard touchdown run against Miami in the 1994 Fiesta Bowl, Arizona’s longest run from scrimmage in its bowl history (YouTube video)

1998 return game: The highly dangerous Dennis Northcutt and Chris McAlister handled the return duties with Northcutt primarily on punts and both with kickoff returns. McAlister, a cornerback, was a unanimous All-American in 1998, while Northcutt, a receiver, was a consensus All-American. They were skilled at their positions but their returns added to their acclaim. Both are Arizona Hall of Famers. Northcutt’s 81-yard punt return for a TD against ASU in 1999 was the longest in 21 years. He also had an 80-yard punt return against Middle Tennessee State that year. His 2,249 all-purpose yards in 1999 is a school record as is his 18.9-yard punt return average that season. He is second in career all-purpose yards with 5,392 from 1996 to 1999 (Ka’Deem Carey broke Northcutt’s record of 5,483 from 2011 to 2013).

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McAlister earned the 1998 Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Player of the Year Award as the nation’s top player in the return game. He set the tone for the Arizona’s 12-1 season by returning the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown at Hawaii on the first play of the year, tying his own school record set in 1996 against UCLA. He returned a punt 69 yards for a score against Northeast Louisiana and returned an interception 60 yards for a score against Washington State to become only the seventh player in NCAA history to have scored on kickoff, punt and interception returns in a single season. He averaged 38 yards per game in all-purpose yardage, eight kickoff returns for a 29.5 mark, five punt returns for a 20.8 mark and five interception returns for a 12.8 figure.

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Kicking game

1993 kicking game: The placekicker Steve McLaughlin is one of the most accomplished kickers in Arizona history. He was a consensus All-American in 1994, the same year he won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top placekicker. He made 80 percent of his kicks during the season, including 12-of-16 from beyond 40 yards and 3-of-5 from beyond 50 yards. Still holds the Arizona record with 23 field goals made in 1994. He made three field goals in 29-0 win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl that capped the 1993 season. An Arizona Hall of Famer, he was drafted in the third round by St. Louis in 1995, his lone season in the NFL. Punter Matt Peyton was a freshman in 1993 who averaged only 37 yards a punt. He developed into a second-team All-Pac-10 selection in 1996, when he averaged 43.7 yards per punt. He also handled placekicking duties in the 1996 season.

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1998 kicking game: Mark McDonald saved his best for last that season making three field goals — including a career-long from 48 yards — against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl, which proved to be crucial in the 23-20 win. He was 8-of-17 in the regular season in 1993 and 14-of-35 in his career. Punter Ryan Springston was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection in 1998. He averaged 41.7 yards per punt that season.

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Defensive backs

1993 defensive backs: This group consisted of cornerbacks Claudius Wright and Jey Phillips and safeties Brandon Sanders and Tony Bouie. Wright led the Desert Swarm defense with nine passes broken up in 1993. Phillips, a captain for Tomey, was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection that season. Sanders, the strong safety, became a two-time All-Pac-10 selection in 1994 and 1995. He ranks eighth in school history with 29 passes broken up in his career, including a team-best nine in 1994. His three fumbles caused in 1993 led the Desert Swarm. He played two seasons with the New York Giants in 1997 and 1998. Bouie, the free safety, was a first team All-Pac-10 selection in 1993 and became a consensus first-team All-American in 1994. His 13 career interceptions ranks tied for seventh in school history, which includes seven in 1993. In 1991 as a freshman, Bouie led the Wildcats with 86 tackles. The Arizona Sports Hall of Famer played four years in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1995 to 1998.

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1998 defensive backs: Chris McAlister and Kelvin Hunter were the standout cornerbacks and Greg Payne and Rafell Jones started at the safety positions. As great as Sanders and Bouie were for the 1993 team, McAlister is arguably the biggest name in either group. He was a unanimous All-American in 1998. Showing his athleticism, McAlister earned the national Mosi Tatupu Award in 1998 for his top performance in the return game. He twice returned kicks 100 yards in his career, including in the season opener at Hawaii in 1998. He also blocked two kicks in 1998. He was also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the top defensive back in the nation. He was a three-time All-Pac-10 selection from 1996 to 1998. He ranks third in school history with 18 career interceptions despite playing only three seasons. He had a team-high 15 passes broken up in 1998. A first-round pick in the NFL draft (10th overall) by the Baltimore Ravens in 1999, McAlister was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in his 11-year career. Hunter was a good complement to McAlister, tying him with 27 passes broken up in a career, which ranks 11th in school history. Payne, the strong safety, was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection in 1998.

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Linebackers

1993 linebackers: Comprising the back half of front seven of the Desert Swarm defense was linebackers Shawn Jarrett, Sean Harris and Brant Boyer. Jarrett, an outside linebacker, was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection in 1993. Harris, a Tucson High product, was a two-time first team All-Pac-10 selection in 1992 and 1993. Harris was a third-round selection of the Chicago Bears in 1995. He played seven years in the NFL. Boyer was a 10-year NFL veteran who was a second team All-Pac-10 selection in 1993. He led the Wildcats with 90 tackles that season.

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1998 linebackers: Solid group that was at the heart of this defense. DaShon Polk, Marcus Bell and Scooter Sprotte stack up well against their 1993 counterparts. Polk was a second team All-Pac-10 selection in 1998 and was drafted in the seventh round by Buffalo. He played seven years in the NFL. Bell was a first team All-Pac-10 selection in 1998. He was selected in the fourth round by Seattle and lasted four seasons in the NFL. He is one of only six Arizona players to tally at least 400 career tackles, finishing with 405. He led the Wildcats with a whopping 139 tackles in 1998, including 14 for loss. Sprotte, not to be confused with his older brother Jimmy Sprotte, who also starred for the Wildcats from 1994 to 1997, topped Arizona with four caused fumbles in 1998.

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Defensive line

1993 defensive line: Wow, where to start? These positions were at the heart of the Desert Swarm defense, which allowed a mere 30.1 yards rushing per game (only 368 yards in 11 regular season games). The Wildcats recovered 20 fumbles. They shut out Miami in the Fiesta Bowl 29-0, the first shutout in the game’s history. Two of the players on the line are in the College Football Hall of Fame — defensive end Tedy Bruschi and nose tackle Rob Waldrop.

Bruschi, now an NFL analyst at ESPN, compiled 185 total tackles (137 solos), with 74 tackles for losses, six fumbles and recovered five others and tied the NCAA Division I-A sack record with 52 sacks in his career. He was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American in 1994 and 1995, and won the 1995 Morris Trophy as the Pac-10’s best defensive lineman. He went on to win three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.

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Waldrop was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American in 1992 and 1993. He was also the recipient of the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in the country, the Nagurski Award as the best defensive player, and United Press International’s Lineman of the Year award.

The two unsung players on the line — defensive tackle Jim Hoffman and defensive end Jimmie Hopkins — were also two formidable forces. Hoffman ranks sixth in school history with 22.5 career sacks. Hopkins was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection in 1993 after not participating in spring drills that season because he prepared himself to join the Army, of which he served after his Arizona career.

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1998 defensive line: This unit was dominant in its own way with defensive ends Joe Tafoya and Eli Wnek and tackles Daniel Greer and Keoni Fraser as opponents rushed for only 94.8 yards per game. Wnek and Fraser stood out as freshmen.

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Tafoya, who went on to play seven years in the NFL, was a two-time All-Pac-10 second team selection. He ranks fourth in school history with 24.5 career sacks, including a team-best 10 in 1999. Wnek was a three-time All-Pac-10 All-Academic selection in 1998 and 2001 as a defensive end and in 2000 as a tight end.

Fraser was a Sporting News Freshman All-American in 1998. He tied a school record with five fumbles recovered in 2000. Greer was a first team All-Pac-10 selection in 1998, leading the Wildcats with nine sacks.

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Wide receivers

1993 wide receviers: The starting receivers for the 1993 team were Terry Vaughn and the late Troy Dickey, who passed away earlier this year after suffering a stroke. Vaughn started four seasons and led the Wildcats in receiving three of those years, including as a senior in 1993 with 36 receptions for 474 yards and two touchdowns. Dickey, a second team All-Pac-10 selection as a returner in 1991, enjoyed an illustrious 12-year career in the Canadian Football League after leaving Arizona. He finished his career in 2006 with 1,006 career receptions, a record which stood until 2010. Vaughn holds the CFL record for most 1,000-plus yards receiving seasons with 11, while also holding the record for most consecutive 1,000-plus yards receiving, also with 11. He finished his career as the CFL’s fourth-leading receiving with 13,746 yards.

Terry Vaughn is one of only six different receivers who have led the Wildcats in three different seasons. The list includes “T” Bell, Derek Hill, Dennis Northcutt, Bobby Wade and Mike Thomas.

Dickey was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection in 1993 with 27 receptions for 381 yards and six touchdowns. Two of those TD receptions were against Miami in the Fiesta Bowl, which ties an Arizona bowl record. Dickey also shares the record for most receptions in a bowl with nine against Baylor in the 1992 John Hancock Bowl.

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1998 wide receivers: The starting receivers for the 1998 team included one of the most prolific players in Arizona history, Dennis Northcutt, and Jeremy McDaniel. Northcutt is one of the best receivers and returners in Wildcats history, catching 223 passes for 3,252 yards in his career from 1996 to 1999. Only two other Pac-10 players have had more receptions and receiving yards in their careers. Northcutt also caught passes in 43 straight games, a conference record. In his senior year, he set an Arizona records with 88 receptions for 1,422 yards. His punt-return average that year of 19 yards per return was second in the nation. He was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American as an “all-purpose” athlete in 1999. He was also an All-Pac-10 receiver in 1999. After selected as the first pick in the second round in the 2000 NFL draft by Cleveland, Northcutt, an Arizona Hall of Famer, went on to play 10 years in the NFL.

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McDaniel was a second team All-Pac-10 selection in 1998 with 58 catches for 916 yards and nine touchdowns. His 283 yards receiving at Cal in a five-overtime game in 1996 remains a school record. His 14 receptions in the game are also a school record. He went on to play parts of four seasons in the NFL and another three seasons in the Arena Football League.

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Tight ends

1993 tight ends: The starting tight end was Rod Lewis, who was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection as a senior that season after playing outside linebacker with the Wildcats at the outset of his career. The Dallas product who was born in Washington, D.C., was selected in the fifth round by the Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans) in the 1994 NFL draft. He played four seasons in the NFL, which is commendable given he only had eight receptions for 94 yards in two years as the tight end at Arizona.

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1998 tight ends: Mike Lucky started every game that season at tight end and Brandon Manumaleuna also saw playing time, some in the backfield as a H-back blocker for Trung Canidate. Lucky was an honorable mention selection of the All-Pac-10 team his senior season of 1998. He was selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft by Dallas and he played with the Cowboys for four seasons (1999 to 2002). As a senior, he was fourth on the team with 11 receptions for 142 yards. He also added 40 knockdown blocks, helping the team average 213 rushing yards per game (14th in the nation). In the last game against ASU, his blocking contributed to Arizona gaining 607 rushing yards, including a school record 288 rushing yards by Canidate. He finished as one of the school’s top receiving tight ends, with 43 receptions for 563 yards and four touchdowns. Manumaleuna began his career at Arizona as a defensive lineman before making the switch to tight end and H-back. He finished his career with 40 receptions for 544 yards and three touchdowns. He went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL. He had six catches for 22 yards as a sophomore in 1998.

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Running backs/offensive backfield

1993 backfield: This team had three backs with at least 100 carries — Ontiwaun Carter (178), Chuck Levy (126) and Billy Johnson (100). They combined for 1,858 yards on 404 carries, an average of 4.6 yards a carry, led by Carter’s 837 yards on 178 carries (4.7 yards a carry). They also combined for 15 rushing touchdowns with Levy the leader with nine. Levy had 567 yards rushing and Johnson 454. Gary Taylor (345 yards on 78 carries) and Lamont Lovett (109 yards on 30 carries) were also utilized.

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1998 backfield: Tomey used an interesting mix of tight ends and fullbacks into his rushing offense, unlike 1993 when his offense utilized mostly tailbacks. The use of tight end Brandon Manumaleuna and fullback Paul Shields in the backfield was primarily for blocking reasons and for them to flair out for passes. The primary rusher was All-Pac-10 selection Trung Canidate, who rushed for 1,220 yards on 167 carries (whopping 7.6 yards per carry) with 10 touchdowns. Tough runner Kelvin Eafon gained 532 yards on 145 carries with 16 touchdowns, most coming in short-yardage goal-line situations. Leon Callen chipped in with 276 yards on 63 carries. The quarterback tandem of Ortege Jenkins and Keith Smith combined for 355 yards on 105 carries with five touchdowns.

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Quarterback

1993 quarterback: Dan White was a three-year starting quarterback for Arizona from 1993 to 1995 after transferring from Penn State and sitting out a year. With White the starter in 1993, Arizona’s offense was efficient. In the Fiesta Bowl against Miami that season, where White threw for 2 touchdowns in the 29-0 drubbing of the 10th-ranked Hurricanes. White continued as the starting quarterback until 1995, finishing with 43 touchdown passes in his career. His top achievement was going 3-0 against ASU, throwing seven touchdowns and only one interception in those three games.

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1998 quarterbacks: Keith Smith and Ortege Jenkins shared the quarterback duties to near perfection. Smith set Arizona’s single-season completion percentage record during 1998, his junior season (68.5 percent, 113-of-165). That mark stood until Nick Foles produced a 69.1 percentage during the 2011 season. Smith was a second team All-Pac-10 selection in 1998. He tallied 5,972 passing yards and 42 TDs during his career. Combining his rushing and passing numbers, Smith posted 7,049 total yards on 1,021 attempts. He rushed for 199 yards on 49 carries in 1998. Jenkins passed for 1,011 yards in 1998 (completing 70 of 142 passes) and rushed for 156 yards on 56 carries with two touchdowns, one of them the famous “Leap by the Lake” against Washington when he went head over heels into the end zone to beat the Huskies in Seattle.

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Offensive line

1993 offensive line: LT Mu Tagoai, LG Pulu Poumele, C Hicham El-Mashtoub, RG Warner Smith and RT Joe Smigiel. Notes: Three of the linemen have sadly passed away — Tagaoi, Poumele and Smith. … Smith was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection in 1994 … El-Mashtoub was a second team all-conference pick in 1994 and was selected in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL draft by the then Houston Oilers.

Key stats: 2,281 yards rushing on 569 carries (average of 4.0 yards per carry) with 18 rushing touchdowns. Allowed 17 sacks in 12 games.

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1998 offensive line: LT Edwin Mulitalo, LG Steven Grace, C Bruce Wiggins, RG Yusuf Scott and RT Manu Savea. Notes: Mulitalo was a second team All-Pac-10 choice in 1998. He was drafted in the fourth round by Baltimore in 1999. He recently became the first former UA football player to become a head coach at the college level at Southern Virginia. … Grace was a second team all-conference pick in 1999. … Wiggins was also a second-team choice. … Scott was a 1998 Football News second-team All-American and an Associated Press third team All-American. He won the Pac-10 Morris Trophy in 1998 as the league’s best offensive lineman. He was a first team All-Pac-10 pick that year. He was also selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. … Savea was taken in the seventh round by the Cleveland Browns.

Key stats: 2,561 yards rushing on 523 carries (4.9 yards a carry) with 34 rushing touchdowns. Allowed 21 sacks in 13 games.

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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.

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