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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 40 days separate us from the start of Rich Rodriguez’s fifth season, when the Arizona Wildcats football team plays Brigham Young on Sept. 3 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
As is customary on this Web site, we will count down the days with an interesting element associated with each day. This year the topic is the top 100 individual records in Arizona’s storied football past.
In past years, we have counted down the top games and highlighted players and some of the top plays in Arizona Wildcats football history. A couple of years ago in our top 100 countdown, we showcased the 1914 team that was responsible for Arizona becoming the “Wildcats”.
Back to this year’s countdown of the top 100 individual records in the 117 years of Arizona football:
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Art Luppino’s season-opening school-record performance in 1954 against New Mexico A&M (now known as New Mexico State) will be discussed forever.
ARIZONA SCORING IN A GAME (TD-XP-FG)[table “” not found /]
Most Points Scored, Game: 32, Art Luppino, vs. New Mexio State, Sept. 18, 1954 (5 rushing touchdowns, 2 extra points)
Pac-12 record: 36, Dick Dunn, Cal vs. Nevada, Nov. 18 1922 (6 rushing touchdowns); Anthony Davis, USC vs. Notre Dame, Dec. 2, 1972 (5 rushing touchdowns, 1 kickoff return for touchdown)
NCAA record: 48, Howard Griffith, Illinois vs. Southern Illinois, Sept. 22, 1990 (8 rushing touchdowns)
For 61 seasons now, the scoring record at Arizona has stood for the “Cactus Comet” Art Luppino, who ran all over the New Mexico A&M defense in the 1954 season opener.
Luppino not only scored five touchdowns in about only 20 minutes played in the 58-0 rout, he also made two extra-point attempts after his scores. His school-record 32 points in a game has been challenged a few times, most notably by Ka’Deem Carey, who is the only other player to reach 30 points in a game with his five rushing touchdowns against Colorado in 2012.
Carey had four games with at least four touchdowns in his career, scoring at the minimum 24 points in those games. Luppino had 25 at Utah, also in 1954, behind four touchdowns and an extra point.
Adding to the intrigue of Luppino’s historic performance against New Mexico A&M: He originally was slated to play behind regular starter Ken Cardella, but an injury suffered by Cardella in preseason workouts opened the door for “The Cactus Comet.”
To better suit Luppino’s elusive open-field running style, Arizona coach Warren Woodson did the right thing by abandoning the stacked Winged-T offense in that game for the more open Split T. The move was one of genius.
Previous school records produced by the “Cactus Comet” listed in this countdown:
50. Most Touchdowns Scored, Season: 24 in 1954; Ka’Deem Carey, 2012
59. Touchdowns Scored, Game: 5 vs. New Mexico St., 1954; Ka’Deem Carey, vs. Colorado, 2012
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.