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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Leaving games is downright despicable


Arizona redshirt senior wide receiver Austin Hill (29) caught the now infamous ʺHill Maryʺ play against California on September 30. With the recent influx of Hail Mary plays around the Pac-12 Conference, leaving an Arizona home game is downright irresponsible.

I almost feel bad about writing this column, because it practically writes itself.

In light of recent events, anyone who leaves Arizona football’s game with USC early is just plain stupid. Obviously, we’re not supposed to badmouth readers; in the introductory class at the journalism school, we’re taught that our first loyalty is to the citizens. But the case to stay is so obvious, that it’s acceptable in this instance.

Other than the fact that the underdog Wildcats are No. 10 in the country, there’s myriad of reasons to stay.

To start, there’s Arizona’s last home game: The Wildcats scored 36 points in the fourth quarter against California before ending the game with the Hail Mary last-second touchdown.

Hail Marys have become more commonplace, at least in the Pac-12 Conference, but the many fans who left early will have to live with the fact that they missed what’s normally a once-in-a-lifetime play.

What are the odds that it would happen again? They seem to be better than they were a few weeks ago, but even if it does happen again in the next few weeks, the fans who left missed the first one.

That was hardly the first time UA head coach Rich Rodriguez pulled off a magical ending, either. In the 2012 New Mexico Bowl, the Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the final 46 seconds to stun Nevada 49-48.

Leaving a Rich Rod game early, unless the margin is 50 points, is just ridiculous. Actually, leaving an Arizona-USC game is still a head-scratcher.

The last seven Wildcat-Trojan games were decided by a touchdown or less. Last year, it looked like Arizona was dead and about to be buried under Troy when it trailed 38-17, but the Wildcats scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, after scoring two touchdowns in the first three quarters, to pull within a score of winning.

In 2012, Arizona survived a USC Hail Mary to beat the No. 10 Trojans 39-36. Arizona rallied from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter in that game. Notice a theme?

When the Wildcats and Trojans get together, it’s a safe bet the game’s will be down to the wire.

While the Trojans clinched a win over then No. 13 Stanford in the last minute, they mostly haven’t played close games. However, its last two games have included a Hail Mary.

Against Oregon State, the Trojans crushed the Beavers’ spirits with a Hail Mary to close out the first half.

Then the impossible happened: USC took part in a second successful Hail Mary in back-to-back games. ASU upset the Trojans on a Hail Mary, scoring a 73-yard touchdown and 46-yarder in the last 2:43 to rally from a 34-25 deficit.

Amazing stuff happens with this Trojan team.

Sorry for the tough love, but, really, I’m doing you a favor: Leaving early is foolish.


Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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