This Day in Wildcat History: Vance Johnson’s kickoff return memorable way to start magical 1982 season

SEPTEMBER 11, 1982

Vance Johnson went on to a productive NFL career with Denver

— Arizona began one of its most memorable seasons in the program’s history — the 1982 season — with a 38-12 victory over Oregon State in front of only 35,599 fans at Arizona Stadium. According to Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen, Jimmy The Greek made a comment about Oregon State being “a girls team” on the eve of the game. Oregon State coach Joe Avezzano responded by calling Jimmy The Greek “a fat slob.” Arizona beat the Beavers 38-12 as Vance Johnson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Arizona tied No. 9 UCLA 24-24, beat No. 8 Notre Dame 16-13, lost a thriller 48-41 to No. 16 USC and beat No. 6 ASU 28-18 that magical season. Oregon State finished 1-9-1.

Other September 11 happenings of note:

— Arizona opened its final season (1976) under coach Jim Young with a 31-19 win over Auburn at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats finish that injury-marred season 5-6 and Young moved on to coach Purdue.

— Two games into the Mike Stoops era in 2004, the Wildcats lose 23-6 to No. 17 Utah and coach Urban Meyer at Arizona Stadium.

Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner

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