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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 32 days 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”.
Back to this year’s countdown of the top 100 individual records in the 117 years of Arizona football:
Art Luppino’s 166 points scored in 1954 stands as a school record to this day with Ka’Deem Carey coming closest at 144 in 2012.
ARIZONA SCORING IN A SEASON
Most Points Scored, Season: 166, Art Luppino, 1954 (24 TDs, 22 extra-points kicking and rushing)
Pac-12 record: 174, Howie Williams, Stanford, 1969 (29 TDs)
NCAA record: 236, Montee Ball, Wisconsin, 2011 (39 TDs, 1 two-point conversion in 14
Photo published by the Arizona Republic on Nov. 26, 1954, shows Arizona’s offense with Art Luppino “The Cactus Comet” in the back row, second from the right
One aspect of the Rich Rodriguez era that has become apparent: His place-kicker and top running back are scoring threats of record proportions. However, Ka’Deem Carey, John Bonano, Nick Wilson and Casey Skowron still have not come within 22 points of “The Cactus Comet” Art Luppino’s school-record of 166 points in 1954.
On his way to becoming the first running back to lead the nation in rushing yards in consecutive years, Luppino was on a tear in 1954. At the time, Luppino’s 166 points were the fourth-most in college football history and he was only a sophomore. The next-highest scorer in 1954 was Oklahoma tailback Buddy Leake, who tallied 79 points.
Injuries slowed Luppino in his last two seasons of his productive career. His performance in 1954 was legendary, including a school-record five touchdowns scored in a game against New Mexico State.
Six of the nine times an Arizona player has scored more than 100 points in a season has occurred in the Rodriguez era, starting in 2012. Before Rodriguez arrived, only Luppino, end/kicker Harold McClellan (124 points in 1921) and placekicker Jason Bondzio (100 points in 2007) had at least 100 points in a season.
Skowron, who exhausted his eligibility last season, is the only Arizona place-kicker to top 100 points twice in a season. He joins Carey as the only two players who have eclipsed 100 points twice in a career.
Previous school records produced by the “Cactus Comet” listed in this countdown:
40. Most Points Scored, Game: 32, vs. New Mexio State, Sept. 18, 1954 (5 rushing touchdowns, 2 extra points)
50. Most Touchdowns Scored, Season: 24 in 1954; Ka’Deem Carey, 2012
59. Touchdowns Scored, Game: 5 vs. New Mexico St., 1954; Ka’Deem Carey, vs. Colorado, 2012
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.