2016 Arizona Wildcats football season countdown: No. 6 individual record



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Chuck Cecil’s school-record four interceptions at Stanford in 1987 topped eight other Arizona players who had three.

Only six 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:

No. 6

Most Interceptions, Game: 4, Chuck Cecil, vs. Stanford, Sept. 30, 1987

Pac-12 record: 4, Cecil and eight others, most recently Lamont Thompson, Washington State vs. UCLA, Nov. 3, 2001

NCAA record: 5, held by four players, most recently Dan Rebsch, Miami (Ohio) vs. Western Michigan, Nov. 4, 1972

From the Pac-12 record book:

“Chuck Cecil is a champion. He was one of the guys who was a champion last week. He’ll be a champion next week. There’s no one better.”
— Arizona coach Dick Tomey after Cecil’s four interception game at Stanford in 1987

Chuck Cecil’s school-record fourth interception at Stanford in 1987, lifting the Wildcats to a 23-13 victory, was achieved on the last play of that game — further proof that Cecil never gave up on a play and was tuned in from start to finish.

The most significant of the four picks came in the third quarter with Arizona clinging to a 13-10 and Stanford driving to the Wildcat 25-yard line. Cecil stopped that threat by intercepting Brian Johnson’s pass and returning it to the Cardinal 37.

Four players later, Ronald Veal completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Darryll Lewis (then a halfback) to give Arizona a 20-10 lead and cement the momentum for the Wildcats. Arizona snapped a three-game losing streak to the Cardinal.

“I felt like I had to do something extra to pick up the team,” Cecil told the Arizona Republic after the game. “I can’t go out and be an average player, because I am not, as far as I’m concerned.

“I’m in position to make big plays, and people count on me to excel, not just perform.”

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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