Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff: 13 days

We have reached only 13 days until the Arizona Wildcats kick off their 2018 campaign under new coach Kevin Sumlin. The season begins when Arizona hosts BYU on Sept. 1 at Arizona Stadium.

To get ready for the upcoming season, All Sports Tucson offers another countdown, which includes memories from former Wildcats, history notes and a look ahead to the season. Think of it as a way to keep Arizona football on the mind in the summer months leading up to fall camp in early August and then kickoff against the Cougars marking the start of the Sumlin Era.

The season marks some substantial anniversaries. It is the 40th anniversary since the Wildcats left the WAC to join the Pac-12 (went from the Pac-8 to the Pac-10 then) and also the 20th anniversary of the 1998 team with the best record in school history, 12-1, and the 25th anniversary of the 1993 team that went 10-2 with a win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

To catch up on the countdown — which included in-depth analysis and reader polls on The Great Debate of which team was better — 1993 or 1998 — click on this: Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff.

Top 25 developments in Pac-10/12 era

Over the last part of the countdown we are ranking the top 25 developments of Arizona’s Pac-10/12 existence that started in 1978 when it arrived with ASU from the WAC. The ranking will include player highlights, team accomplishments, coaching moves and other off-field developments. If a player is involved, the ranking includes happenings only during the course of that athlete’s time at Arizona.

The ranking up to now:

No. 25: Darryll Lewis’ 1990 season

No. 24: Chris McAlister’s career

No. 23: Mike Stoops’ tenure

No. 22: Rob Waldrop’s career

No. 21: Scooby Wright III’s 2014 season

No. 20: Rich Rodriguez’s tenure

No. 19: Win over No. 1 Washington in 1992

No. 18: John Mackovic coaching fiasco

No. 17: Arizona Stadium upgrades

No. 16: Win at Notre Dame in 1982

No. 15: The Khalil Tate phenomenon

No. 14: Kevin Sumlin’s hire

No. 13

Ka’Deem Carey’s rushing stats

Carey’s two-year rushing total of 3,814 yards in 2012 and 2013 will be hard to top. In 13 games of his sophomore season in 2012, he rushed for 1,929 yards on 303 carries with 23 touchdowns, which broke the Arizona single-season record for both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. On Nov. 10, 2012, Carey set the Pac-12 record for rushing yards in a game with 366 against Colorado. As a junior in 2013, he set a career school record for rushing yards (4,239) and rushing touchdowns (48). He was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2013 and was a two-time consensus All-American in 2012 and 2013. The emergence of the Canyon del Oro star was important for two reasons — it showed that a local talent can reach All-American status with the Wildcats and that greatness can be achieved on a national scale.

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The best to wear No. 13 …

The best to wear No. 13 in Arizona history? Has to be legendary placekicker Max Zendejas. Mr. Clutch made 13 field goals of at least 50 yards and beat Notre Dame and Arizona State (twice) with late-game boots. Other talented Arizona kickers wore No. 13 as well: placekicker Lee Pistor and punter Sergio Vega.

Max Zendejas celebrates after putting the Wildcats ahead with a 32-yard field goal late in a 1985 win over the Sun Devils (Tucson Citizen file photo)

Wearing No. 13 now …

Two players wear No. 13 now — reserve junior safety Chacho Ulloa and walk-on quarterback Luke Ashworth of Phoenix Arcadia High School. Ulloa has nine tackles in his career, one for lost yardage. Ashworth is not letting a winless season last year at Arcadia get in the way of his dreams. He completed 80 of 169 pass attempts for 753 yards with two touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Not tremendous stats but his will to continue his football career is.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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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