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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Arizona’s win over Oregon was its best ever

EUGENE, Ore. — Arizona football’s 31-24 over No. 2 Oregon was very historic, but you couldn’t tell by the post-game press conference.

Sure the Wildcats (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) and head coach Rich Rodriguez were happy, but they acted like they had been there before. They seemed more excited when they beat the Ducks last season.

Acting like they have been there before is a sign that this win is the biggest in Arizona history.

“Last year it was really heartwarming because it was the seniors’ last home game and it was improbable, of course,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “This one, I don’t know if anybody picked us. I don’t know how many people were talking about us, but I bet you most of them weren’t thinking this was going to happen, not on the road.”

The Wildcats are ready to move beyond beating top-ten teams as an unranked team and make serious noise nationally.

“It means a lot to us but people always say that no one gave us a shot at anything but it makes a statement that Arizona is here to play for the next couple of years,” sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright III said.

Few believed Arizona would win, they were 24-point under dogs, but the Ducks played like they were desperate: throwing passes to Mariota and going for it on fourth and 11 from the 37 yard line.

Arizona spanked the Ducks last year. With all those factors, plus the buzz of the black out, Oregon should’ve been a shoe in to win this game.

Oregon may be suspect after barely getting by Washington State and with some injuries on the offensive line, but there are few tougher places to play than Autzen Stadium. It’s exceeding loud and this was UO’s 100th sell out in a row.

There’s no other win in UA football history that is better than Thursday’s triumph.

The Wildcats beat a No. 2 Oregon before in 2007, but that was at home and the Ducks’ quarterback, Dennis Dixon was injured. Plus the UA went 5-7 that season, making that win an aberration.

Arizona is a young team that will get better so the likely hood of this being the Wildcats’ only win over a ranked team this year is remote. The UA is more likely to go to the playoffs than seeing that happen.

Other than the trip to No. 8 UCLA, which hasn’t looked impressive except against the mediocre ASU team that it exposed, Arizona’s big games, USC and Washington are at home, where Rich Rod is 13-4 as the Wildcats’ skipper.

Arizona’s beaten No. 1 ranked teams before, like in Washington in 1992, but that was at home.

There’s really only one other win in UA history that compares to their defeat of the No. 2 Ducks in Autzen: the Wildcats’ 13-10 win at No. 1 USC in 1981. However, anyone who knows anything about sports knows the casual Los Angeles fans are not as fanatical as the loud Northwestern supporters.

Plus the Wildcats went 6-5 that season. They lost to the other three ranked teams that they played.

Soak it in Arizona fans, this was the biggest win in Arizona history because you won’t have to wait another 33 or 12 or five years to see another one like it.

“They’re probably having a good time in Tucson, Arizona, right now,” Rodriguez said after the game.

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