2016 Arizona Wildcats football season countdown: No. 49 individual record




Only 49 days — seven weeks from today — separate us from the start of Rich Rodriguez’s fifth season, when the Arizona Wildcats football team plays Brigham Young on Sept. 3 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

As is customary on this Web site, we will count down the days with an interesting element associated with each day. This year the topic is the top 100 individual records in Arizona’s storied football past.

In past years, we have counted down the top games and highlighted players and some of the top plays in Arizona Wildcats football history. A couple of years ago in our top 100 countdown, we showcased the 1914 team that was responsible for Arizona becoming the “Wildcats”.

Jeremy McDaniel’s school-record 14 receptions at Cal in a four-overtime loss in 1996 came close to be broken by Cayleb Jones against the Golden Bears in 2014 as Jones finished with 13.

Back to this year’s countdown of the top 100 individual records in the 117 years of Arizona football:

No. 49

Most Passes Caught, Game: 14, Jeremy McDaniel, vs. California, Nov. 2, 1996 (283 yards)

Pac-12 record: 19, Nelson Spruce, Colorado vs. California, Sept. 27, 2014 (179 yards); Ron Fair, Arizona State vs. Washington State, Oct. 28, 1989 (277 yards)

NCAA record: 23, Randy Gatewood, UNLV vs. Idaho, Sept. 17, 1994 (363 yards); Tyler
Jones, Eastern Michigan vs. Central Michigan, Nov. 28, 2008 (170 yards)

Jeremy McDaniel, who starred at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, chose Arizona over Michigan in the recruiting process.

Arizona’s epic four-overtime 56-55 loss at California produced a lot of records — and heartbreak for the Wildcats and their fans. Jeremy McDaniel’s 14 receptions in the game still stands as an Arizona record 20 years later, although receiving standouts Cayleb Jones, Juron Criner, David Roberts, Rob Gronkowski, Bobby Wade and Mike Thomas have come close — within at least two with 12.

Jones had 13 catches in Arizona’s 49-45 thrilling win over Cal in 2014, the game in which the Wildcats won on Anu Solomon’s “Hail Mary” pass to Austin Hill.

McDaniel benefited from the NCAA allowing overtimes in college football for the first time in 1996. His performance is still legendary against the Golden Bears with his school-record 283 yards (to be ranked later in this countdown) and two touchdown receptions, including one in the first overtime.

The junior college All-American from Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College entered the game with 119 yards receiving in the first seven games. He more than doubled that production against the Golden Bears as he became Keith Smith’s primary target.

The 14 receptions is tied for 13th-most in Pac-12 history. It ranked third at the time.


Rec Players Yds Opponent Year
14 Jeremy McDaniel 283 at California 1996
13 Cayleb Jones 186 vs. California 2014
12 Juron Criner 179 Oregon State 2010
12 Juron Criner 152 vs. Stanford 2009
12 David Roberts 138 at Washington 2009
12 Rob Gronkowski 143 at Oregon 2008
12 Bobby Wade 151 Oregon 2002
12 Dave Hibbert 107 at Texas Tech 1958
12 Mike Thomas 105 at California 2007
12 Jim Greth 98 Iowa State 1966
12 Mike Thomas 83 at USC 2007

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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