In the 50 days leading up to Arizona’s season-opener against Toledo, on Sept. 1 at Arizona Stadium, TucsonCitizen.com and its affiliate WildAboutAZCats.net will rank the Top 50 games in the history of the football program. The ranking is at No. 47 as the kickoff to the Wildcats’ season — and the start of the Rich Rodriguez era — is only 47 days away.
SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 35, Cal Tech Beavers 0
DATE: Oct. 12, 1929
SITE: Arizona Stadium, known as West Stadium with a stadium capacity of 7,000, only on the west side of the facility
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: The first game played at Arizona Stadium. The evolution of Arizona football includes the move to the stadium from the field located in an area where the old administration building and the chemistry building were later situated. Before Arizona Stadium — known as West Stadium then — was built in 1928 for a cost of $166,888, the Wildcats played on the south side of the present UA mall, to the southeast of Old Main. The West Stadium was seven years in the making, as former UA football players Orville McPherson and Kirk Moore appeared before the Board of Athletics Control (composed of full-time graduate managers and representatives of the student body and faculty) in 1921 to pitch the idea for the stadium. The Arizona Board of Regents purchased two blocks of land for the stadium at Sixth Street between Vine Street on the west and Cherry Street on the east.
The Board of Regents stipulated that the alumni must raise $100,000 toward the stadium’s cost. The school’s president Homer LeRoy Shantz used the theme, “We must pull together” to gain support. Football coach J. F. “Pop” McKale was very active in this campaign, yet alumni, faculty and students pulled together only $25,000 toward the $100,000 goal. The copper companies in Arizona helped the school reach its goal with their donations. As a side note, current Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne announced earlier this year that the Wildcats will wear copper helmets in at least one game during the 2012 season as a symbol for the importance of the copper mining industry to the state and the university.
In the 1929 christening of Arizona Stadium, the Wildcats defeated Cal Tech 35-0 in the homecoming game. The Wildcats went 7-1 overall under McKale that season, including a perfect 4-0 at the new stadium. They shut out the four opponents by a combined score of 129-0.
In September 2009, Arizona announced a long-term $378 million sports expansion project that would include an expansion of the north end zone stands. The expansion, to be completed by the 2013 season, will include a four-story building that will house locker rooms and football offices. Seating capacity will be 59,920, an increase from 57,400 before the project.
No. 48 — Underdog Arizona’s 2011 thriller over arch-rival Arizona State (TucsonCitizen.com)
No. 49 — Arizona’s first win over arch-rival Arizona State, then known as Territorial Normal (WildAboutAZCats.net)
No. 50 — Arizona’s first win in program’s history: 22-5 over Tucson Indians (TucsonCitizen.com)