Arizona Football

Arizona Football Notes: The One Time NAU Beat UA, Former Lumberjack Now Wildcats Lineman and More


The big happening in Tucson on Sunday, Oct. 30, was watching the return engagement — a three-day run at the Fox Theater — of the movie “Grand Hotel” with Greta Garbo, John Barrymore and Joan Crawford.

That might have helped Arizona football fans take their mind off a 7-6 upset loss to the Northern Arizona State Teachers College — as NAU was called back then — at Phoenix.

The Lumberjacks beat Arizona in dramatic fashion on their last drive faced with a fourth-and-goal at the Wildcat 8.

NAU quarterback Edgar “Mutt” Ford connected with Russell Jackson, who lunged across the goal-line as he was tackled. Earl “Jiggs” Insley (who later became the school’s athletic director) came in for the game-winning extra-point attempt with the game tied at 6 in the waning seconds of the game. Insley crossed the Wildcats up, however, taking the snap and passing to Jackson in the end zone to give the Lumberjacks to the 7-6 victory (two-point conversions did not exist back then).

Ford went on to become one of the state’s most successful high school football coaches with 245 victories. He won the 5A state title in 1960 at Mesa and the 1964 championship at Mesa Westwood. Ford also won state titles as a basketball coach with Peoria in 1937 and with Mesa in 1946.

Arizona captain William Walter Davies, who lived to be 83 before passing in 1992, scored the Wildcats’ lone touchdown against the Lumberjacks 87 years ago. Arizona finished 4-5 that season under coach A.W. Farwick and Flagstaff — as NAU was called then — went 3-2-2 under Rudy Lavik.

Arizona has won 13 consecutive games against NAU since with all those games in Tucson. The series is renewed Saturday night at 7:45 at Arizona Stadium. Arizona is 14-1 against the Lumberjacks.

I know you. Arizona backup center Steven Bailey, a senior from Peoria, started his collegiate career with NAU in 2016 after a stellar career at Centennial High School in which he was part of state title teams his junior and senior seasons.

Steven Bailey

Bailey, who transferred to Glendale Community College after the 2017 season, was recruited to Arizona by former offensive line coach Jim Michalczik when Rich Rodriguez was still the head coach.

Bailey played two games for the Lumberjacks as a true freshman in 2016 but decided to transfer from NAU because “things just kinda didn’t work out. It wasn’t the right fit for me,” he told the Arizona Daily Star’s Michael Lev.

Bailey is one of only two seniors listed on Arizona’s two-deep depth chart on the offensive line. Right guard Cody Creason is the other one.

Khalil Tate (Arizona Athletics photo)

Record watch. Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate threw three touchdown passes against Hawai’i in the season opener two weeks ago. He enters Saturday’s game with 46 touchdown passes for his career, which is tied for fourth-most in school history with Tom Tunnicliffe.

Arizona Career Passing Touchdown Leaders

No.TDsQuarterbackYears
1. (tie)67Nick Foles2009-11
1. (tie)67Willie Tuitama2005-08
3. 53Khalil Tate2016-19
4.49Anu Solomon2014-16
5.46Tom Tunnicliffe1980-83
6.45Bruce Hill1973-75
7.43Dan White1993-95
8. (tie)42Keith Smith1996-99
8. (tie)42Ortege Jenkins1997-2000
10.35Jason Johnson1999-2002


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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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