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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Should you rush the field?

    Michael Schwartz
    Michael Schwartz

    It’s one of the most exciting moments in college sports.

    Your team wins a game it probably shouldn’t have, and you deliriously rush onto the field or court, running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

    But has anybody ever thought of when it’s appropriate to do so?

    Just as Oregon blocked Oklahoma’s attempt at a game-winning field goal Saturday, no sooner did I think to myself, ‘Is this a field-rushing game?’ when a barrage of Duck fans charged the Autzen Stadium turf in jubilation.

    That makes sense – they did just beat a major program that has dominated them in recent memory in dramatic fashion with two touchdowns and the blocked kick in the final 1:12.

    But now, let there be no doubt when it’s OK to rush the field.

    1. The major upset.

    Some wins are so huge and unexpected there’s no debate that it’s a field-rusher.

    Case in point: Last November’s Arizona football win over then-No. 7 and undefeated UCLA. Anybody who said they had any clue the Wildcats would dismantle a top-10 team 52-14 was either lying or had way too much fun tailgating.

    2. The last-second thriller in a big game.

    The circumstances made it a no-brainer when Nick Robinson hit a 35-footer off a steal at the buzzer to lift

    then-undefeated and No. 2 Stanford to a basketball win over then-No. 12 Arizona in 2004. For such an exciting ending to such a huge game, those fans had every reason to rush the court, especially since the Wildcats had won four straight at Maples Pavilion.

    Even Tiger Woods joined the fun, and there’s no doubting a man who now has won 12 majors.

    In Arizona football terms, the “”rain game”” two years ago against Wisconsin would have qualified had Nick Folk’s field goal been true.

    3. Beating big brother, especially in a rivalry game.

    Some teams just have another squad’s number. Entering their 2004 showdown, that was the case in the ASU-Arizona football rivalry, with the Wildcats having lost four of five including no wins in Tucson since 1998.

    All of a sudden Richard Kovalcheck played his best game as a collegiate and with some upset points in the mix (Arizona entered 2-8, the No. 18 Sun Devils 8-2), you had the recipe for a field rush.

    In the gym, the UA basketball team has won 22 of 23 against the Scummies, so expect ASU to rush the court on the Wildcats if they ever take one at Wells Fargo.

    But no need to worry about that; we are talking about the ASU basketball team.

    On top of these rules, there are three exceptions:

    1. The “”good team”” exception.

    It goes without saying under almost all circumstances never to rush the field on a team ranked lower than yours, but also if you’re in the top 25 you can only rush it on a top-10 team, and if you’re in the top 10, only on a top-3 team. “”The last-second thriller”” rule also allows for a court rush if it’s a last-second victory against another quality program.

    This explains why the recently struggling UA football team has won a field-rushing game every year since 2003 (and depending on how the Wildcats play the rest of the year, with possibilities against No. 3 USC, No. 21 California and No. 22 ASU ahead), while the UA basketball team pretty much never has a court-rushing contest.

    When it spends so much time in the top 25 (and even top 10), not even games like the contest two years ago when Salim Stoudamire hit a 3 from the cactus in McKale Center to end a comeback victory over UCLA qualify.

    2. The great program exception.

    In other words, the Arizona basketball team rule.

    When a program has been good for a long time, like that of UA basketball, which has made it to the NCAA Tournament 22 years in a row, you’re never going to rush the court against schools like Washington State, Oregon State and ASU, even if the Wildcats ever spend a March Madness or two at home.

    3. The bowl exception.

    If this is the year that the Arizona football team makes it to a bowl game, that clinching game would be worthy no matter what.

    There’s no way the Wildcats win four of their next five, so count out Oct. 21 against Oregon State, but if Arizona wins game No. 6 either against California Nov. 11 (which could also qualify under the upset category) or in the rivalry contest against ASU Nov. 25, get ready to attack the goalposts.

    Just don’t expect anything like that in McKale.

    Michael Schwartz is a journalism junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu

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