Arizona faces ASU in the latest chapter of the Territorial Cup on Saturday in Tempe. This site will publish this week in the days leading up to the game Arizona’s top 15 victories in the series. Make sure to catch up on the series by clicking on this link: Top 15 Arizona wins over ASU.
SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 21, Arizona State Sun Devils 17
DATE: Nov. 24, 1990
SITE: Arizona Stadium, 57,112 in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: For nine years, Arizona turned the tide in its football series with ASU. The Wildcats enjoyed an 8-0-1 run from 1982 to 1990, their answer to ASU’s domination from 1965 to 1981, when the Sun Devils were 15-2 against Arizona.
The teams have been competitive since with ASU holding a 14-12 advantage. The last victory in “The Streak” for Arizona in 1990 was as suspenseful as the other memorable games in the run filled with fourth-quarter heroics for the Wildcats.
In this one, running back Art Greathouse scored on a 1-yard dive with 3:22 remaining to give the Wildcats their 21-17 lead, and Bobby Roland intercepted a pass by Paul Justin at the Arizona 4 with 30 seconds left to preserve the victory.
Arizona linebacker Jimmy Hopkins forced and recovered a fumble by Sun Devil tailback Leonard Russell at the Arizona State 47 with 8:58 left, leading to Greathouse’s go-ahead score. ASU, aided by 10 penalties that cost Arizona 93 yards, maintained good field position throughout, despite its inability to run the ball against the Wildcats. Arizona held the Sun Devils to 27 yards in 31 carries.
Roland’s interception (at the 5:20 mark of the accompanying YouTube video) came after Justin had driven the Sun Devils 40 yards to the Arizona 24 with 42 seconds left. On a first-down play, Eric Guliford got behind Roland in the Arizona end zone, but the safety leaped to snare the ball at the 4.
“We had an attitude that we’re gonna win,” Greathouse told reporters after the game. “They’re wondering ‘How are we gonna lose it?’ ”
After the game, Arizona, which finished the regular season 7-4 overall, accepted an invitation to play Syracuse in the Aloha Bowl. The defeat was part of a forgettable season for ASU, which lost seven of its last nine games to finish 4-7.
Arizona linebacker Kevin Singleton, who because of leukemia was granted an extra year of eligibility, never lost to the Sun Devils in six games.
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, Arizona 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.
Arizona’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 first three starts against ASU, threw three touchdown passes in the second half as the Wildcat offense proved itself in a strong way.
The 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 did 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 while 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.”
SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 28, Arizona State Sun Devils 18
DATE: Nov. 25, 1988
SITE: Arizona Stadium, 56,978 in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Entering this final game of the year against arch-rival ASU, Arizona quarterback Ron Veal — who split time with SMU transfer Bobby Watters — had one touchdown pass all season.
Veal equaled that with one miraculous throw in the last play of the first half — a 55-yard Hail Mary pass to receiver Derek Hill, who snagged the ball out of teammate Melvin Smith’s hands and darted into the end zone as time expired.
The touchdown pass was one of three for Veal and it gave the Wildcats a 21-18 lead — an advantage the Wildcats would not relinquish. Running back Alonzo Washington also scored twice, catching one of Veal’s touchdown passes, as “The Streak” reached seven games against ASU. At that point, the Wildcats were 6-0-1 against ASU since 1982, when “The Streak” began with another 28-18 victory in Tucson.
The “Hail Mary” pass to Hill (at the 2:00 mark of the accompanying YouTube video) is one of the signature plays of “The Streak”.
Hill, 44, died in January of 2012 of an apparent heart attack. He led Arizona in receptions in three of his four years with Arizona from 1985-88. The Wildcats finished the 1988 season on a three-game winning streak and 7-4 overall record. They tied for third in the Pac-10 at 5-3. The Sun Devils ended the season 6-5 and 3-4.
Veal played one of his most efficient games with Arizona although he completed only 6 of 15 passes for 148 yards. The Wildcats increased their lead to 28-18 on the first play of the fourth quarter, as Veal connected with Washington on an 11-yard scoring pass to cap a 20-play, 82-yard drive. Veal also completed a touchdown of 47 yards to Hill in the first half. Washington, whose first score came on a 10-yard run, carried 24 times for 150 yards.
Arizona’s Brett Holley pinned the Sun Devils on their 3-yard line with 4:07 remaining with a 46-yard punt. Then on a fourth-and-2 play, Wildcat defenders batted away Paul Justin’s pass to seal the victory. ASU scored first to lead, 6-0, and also led 12-7 and 18-14 before Arizona, Veal and the Wildcat defense took control.
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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.