ESPN.com: Best win in Rich Rodriguez’s Arizona tenure is road victory over Oregon

Jul 19, 2015, 5:11 PM | Updated: 5:12 pm
...

Since Rich Rodriguez took over the Arizona football program prior to the 2011 season, the Wildcats have experienced a bit of a renaissance on the gridiron.

The Wildcats have won 26 games under his stewardship, with notable victories over 10th-ranked USC in 2012 and fifth-ranked Oregon in 2013 along with second-ranked Oregon, 17th-ranked Utah and No. 13 Arizona State in 2014.

But which win is the best? That’s the question ESPN Pac-12 writer Chantel Jennings tried to answer, and in a piece picking one win for every Pac-12 South coach, she chose last October’s upset of the Ducks in Autzen.

By no means did Arizona accomplish every goal it had last season, but knocking off No. 2 Oregon on the road was certainly a great victory, and the best of Rodriguez’s Arizona career. Yes, he accomplished the same feat in 2013, but as the adage goes: It’s hard to get to the top and even harder to stay there. And we’re not saying that Arizona got to the top with this victory (because Oregon handed it back to them in the Pac-12 title game), but to come out and back up the 2013 performance — especially considering the Wildcats were undefeated heading into this game — with another dominant victory was a huge statement to the entire conference, and it was probably a harder feat than coming out and surprising the Ducks the season before.

The only argument may come from UA fans who think a win over ASU trumps all, but otherwise it’s tough to argue with the choice.

As Jennings noted, the ‘Cats were undefeated entering that game but were also unranked due to a fairly weak non-conference schedule.

Arizona was down 7-3 at the half and at the time, Wildcat faithful were probably waiting for the other shoe to drop and Oregon to start playing like Oregon and pull away. However, it was the Wildcats who took charge in the third quarter, outscoring the home team 21-7 to take a 24-14 lead into the final quarter.

Arizona’s lead held up until the Ducks’ Keanon Lowe scored on a nine-yard pass from Marcus Mariota, but the Wildcats responded with a 15-play, 71-yard touchdown drive (with help of a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Oregon), and then Scooby Wright’s sack/strip of Mariota on the ensuing drive pretty much sealed the 31-24 upset.

It was a great victory, though much of the momentum from it was lost the following game when Arizona lost a close one to USC.

However, as far as regular season wins go, they don’t get much bigger than a road win over the second-ranked team in the country, a team that would eventually play for the national championship.

Penguin Air

Arizona Football

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...
Arizona Sports

Pac-12 exploring all expansion options with USC, UCLA heading to Big Ten

The Pac-12 is looking into expansion following the decisions from USC and UCLA on Thursday to head to the Big Ten as early as 2024.
5 days ago
Basketballs are rolled off the court during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 03, 2022 in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona ‘extremely disappointed’ in USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The Arizona Wildcats broke their silence Friday regarding USC's and UCLA's plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024.
5 days ago
UCLA plays Oregon during a Pac-12 NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., ...
Arizona Sports

UCLA, USC to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024

UCLA and USC will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, beginning in the 2024-25 season, the two schools confirmed on Thursday evening.
6 days ago
Rob Gronkowski #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up prior to a game against the Carolina Panthe...
Arizona Sports

Wildcat product, Tampa Bay TE Rob Gronkowski announces 2nd retirement

Buccaneers tight end and Arizona Wildcat product Rob Gronkowski announced Tuesday that he will walk away from the NFL for the second time.
15 days ago
In this Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, the Pac-12 logo is displayed on the field at Sun Devil Stadium d...
Nikash Nath

Athlon Sports’ 2022 All-Pac-12 teams include 9 Sun Devils, 7 Wildcats

The college football season kicks off in just more than two months. Athlon Sports' Steve Lassan released the All-Pac-12 teams.
19 days ago
(Twitter Photo/@arian_parish)...
Jake Anderson

Arizona Wildcats football receives commitment from 3-star DB Arian Parish

The Arizona Wildcats football team received another three-star recruit for the class of 2023 on Friday in DB Arian Parish.
26 days ago
ESPN.com: Best win in Rich Rodriguez’s Arizona tenure is road victory over Oregon