Arizona Football: Top 5 Wins Vs. UCLA

Sep 26, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Soso Jamabo (1) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 26, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Soso Jamabo (1) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Football hopes to bounce back on the road this weekend against Pac-12 South rival UCLA and looks to snap it’s four-game losing streak to the Bruins.

Since Arizona joined the Pac-10 in 1978, the Cats and Bruins have scratched and clawed in many classic matchups, but Tucson is where most of the Wildcats memories have been made.

These teams first met in 1927 when the Cats prevailed over the Bruins in Tucson 16-13, but all-time the Bruins have the Cats number.

Arizona is 15-23-2 in its history against it’s Westwood neighbors.

Historically, playing in Pasadena has been difficult for the Cats. They have only won in the Rose Bowl four times in the Pac-10/12 era.

None of those four wins made our list. The 28-21 win during the 1990 season, in which Darryl Lewis scored on a 70-yard interception return in the fourth quarter to give the Cats the lead for good, just landed outside of the Top 5.

Here is our list of the Top 5 wins over the UCLA Bruins.

Nov 23, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats mascot Wilbur against the Oregon Ducks at Arizona Stadium. Arizona defeated Oregon 42-16. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5: Cats Hand Bruins Only Pac-10 Loss

Nov. 12, 1983

Arizona   27

UCLA        24
When UCLA came to Tucson in 1983 for this late-season affair, the Bruins were undefeated in Pac-10 play.

The Cats were looking for redemption after tying the No. 8 Bruins the previous season. It was a game the Cats felt they should have won in Pasadena.

A year later in Tucson Jay Dobyns caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tom Tunnicliffe with 1:01 left to give the Cats a three-point cushion.

On the last play of the game UCLA’s automatic kicker, John Lee missed a 37-yard field goal to give the Cats a well-deserved victory over the rival Bruins.

It would be the only loss in conference play during UCLA’s Rose Bowl winning 1983 campaign.

Dec 31, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats mascot Wilbur the Wildcat against the Boise State Broncos in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


No. 4: Cats Get Some Help From the Buffs

Oct. 14, 1989

Arizona             42

UCLA (No. 22)   7
When Arizona had big time wins over No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 11 Washington earlier in the season, there was one big problem. The Cats only found the end zone a total of two times in those contests.

During the Cats bye week before the clash against the Bruins, Dick Tomey, and his staff did something quite strange. They packed up and headed to Boulder to find out how the dominate Colorado Buffaloes were using their offense successfully with a combination of the I, wishbone, and option sets.

The think tank with the Colorado staff paid off when the Cats met the Bruins at Arizona Stadium.

The Cats rushed for 480 yards thanks in large part to the unexpected I-formation.

Senior David Eldridge led the Cats with 205 yards on the ground. He also found the end zone twice during his epic day.

Mobile quarterback Ronald Veal added 81 yards rushing with two touchdowns of his own.

The Cats would finish the season with an 8-4 record, including a bowl win over North Carolina State.

Sep 17, 2016; Tucson, AZ, USA; The Arizona Wildcats run onto the field before the game against the Hawaii Warriors at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3: Desert Swarm Comes Up Big

Oct. 3, 1992

UCLA (No. 11)    3
Arizona             23

This game will go down in Wildcats history of when the defense we now know as Desert Swarm won their first game on the national stage.

During the previous week, the Cats were a football length away from upsetting one of the great programs of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, the Miami Hurricanes.

In that game, the Swarm held the Hurricanes to 2 yards rushing. That is not a misprint. 2 yards rushing.

Against the Bruins, the Cats only gave up 36 yards on the ground.

The Cats dominated the game and almost ended the Bruins 242-game scoring streak, but UCLA opted for a chip shot field goal on fourth down late in the fourth quarter.

Arizona kicker Steve McLaughlin bounced back from missing kicks against Oregon State and Miami and received the game ball from Dick Tomey after hitting from 50, 45 and 34 yards against the No. 11 Bruins.

No. 2: Cats Win a Shocker in Tucson

Nov. 5, 2005

Arizona            51

UCLA (No. 7)  14

This is one of the most shocking, scratch your head victories in the program’s history.

No one saw this coming.

Everything Arizona did in this game worked to perfection.

The Bruins came to Tucson riding high with an 8-0 record and the dreams of a BCS Championship dancing in their heads.

UCLA played from behind all season, but every time they found themselves in a hole they figured out a way to climb their way out of it.

That’s why when Arizona led 31-7 at the half not all the Wildcat faithful felt totally at ease, but in the second half, the momentum kept building.

During the third quarter if there were a roof on Arizona Stadium it would have blown clean off when Syndric Steptoe returned a 63-yard punt to the house, giving the Cats an insurmountable 45-7 lead.

Freshman quarterback phenom Willie Tuitama finished the game with 204 yards in the air, adding two touchdowns and veteran running back Mike Bell had 153 yards rushing with a touchdown.

Bruins All-American stud Maurice Jones-Drew was held to only 66 all-purpose yards against the suffocating Arizona defense.

No. 1: Cats Ruin Bruins Chance to Move to No. 1

Nov. 1, 1980

UCLA (No. 2) 17
Arizona           23

During Larry Smith’s first year in Tucson the Cats had the tough luxury of hosting the No. 2 team in the nation, three times in less than a month. USC and Notre Dame left the Old Pueblo victorious but UCLA was a different story.

Earlier that afternoon Mississippi State did the Bruins a solid and took out the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide.

All UCLA had to do to become the No. 1 team in the land was to handle their business against little brother Arizona.

Trailing 17-14 at the half, Arizona struck quickly in the third quarter.

The Cats went 80 yards downfield in less than a minute and scored the go-ahead touchdown when Tom Tunnicliffe connected with Bill Nettling for a 39-yard touchdown pass.

The pre Desert Swarm defense allowed only 82 yards of offense to the Bruins in the second half, while shutting them out in the final 30 minutes.

UCLA would make it interesting in the final moments, but a desperation heave was intercepted by Dave Liggins giving the Cats the huge upset win.

Bear Down!

This article originally appeared on