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. 41 as the kickoff to the Wildcats’ season — and the start of the Rich Rodriguez era — is only 41 days away.
SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 34, Arizona State Sun Devils 20
DATE: Nov. 26, 1993
SITE: Sun Devil Stadium, 73,115 in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: The Wildcats, 8-2 overall and ranked No. 19 entering this showdown with their arch-rival in Tempe, had a lot to prove. For one, the UA had lost two straight to ASU after “The Streak” lasted from 1982-90. Secondly, the Wildcats started the season 7-0 but lost two of three games, including road contests at UCLA and Cal that knocked them out of Rose Bowl contention. The UA’s lone road win in the Pac-10 up to that point that season was a 33-0 drubbing two months prior against a 4-7 Oregon State team. Could the Wildcats turn things around against an ASU team that was on a four-game winning streak after a 2-4 start? A Fiesta Bowl appearance on New Year’s Day against the Miami Hurricanes was in the balance for Arizona if it beat ASU.
Arizona quarterback Dan White, a Penn State transfer who never lost in his three starts against ASU, threw three touchdown passes in the second half as the Wildcat offense proved itself in a strong way. The UA defense, anchored by All-American nose guard Rob Waldrop, was the best statistically in the nation. When White hit Richard Dice on a 13-yard touchdown pass, the Wildcats took a lead — 14-10 with 4:19 left in the third quarter — that they would not relinquish. White also connected with receiver Troy Dickey on touchdown passes of 31 and 51 yards in the fourth quarter for a 27-10 lead.
White, not to be confused with former ASU quarterback Danny White, threw for 209 yards completing 14 of 18 pass attempts. Billy Johnson finished with 126 yards rushing and Ontiwaun Carter added 101 yards on the ground.
The Wildcats finished strong despite losing Waldrop in the second quarter to a sprained knee that kept him from returning. They tied UCLA and USC for the best record in the Pac-10 at 6-2. UCLA won the tie-breaker and advanced to the Rose Bowl. Arizona coach Dick Tomey won his first game against his counterpart, ASU coach Bruce Snyder, after two tries.
“We played with so many guys banged up today,” Tomey told reporters after the game. “They really wanted this one. More than anything we wanted to beat ASU. We were tired of all the talk of nobody believing we could win this game.”
No. 42 — Struggling UA gets improbable win against ’83 Pac-10 champ UCLA (TucsonCitizen.com)
No. 43 — Closing chapter of “The Streak” includes Arizona’s dramatic fourth-quarter heroics (WildAboutAZCats.net)
No. 44 — Arizona overcomes rival Texas Tech with unfathomable late-game rally (TucsonCitizen.com)
No. 45 — Dick Tomey, the Desert Fox, does a number on UCLA by changing offense in midseason (WildAboutAZCats.net)
No. 46 — “The Streak” reaches three games, UA achieves best Pac-10 finish (TucsonCitizen.com)
No. 47 — Arizona’s first game at Arizona Stadium in 1929, a 35-0 win over Cal Tech (WildAboutAZCats.net)
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)