Arizona Wildcats football: Top 5 wins over Washington

Coach Rich Rodriguez hugs kicker Casey Skowron, who kicked the game-winner against Washington in 2014.Arizona Athletics
Anthony Gimino

Arizona trails the all-time football series against Washington 11-21-1, but some of those 11 victories have been among the most memorable in school history.

Included against the Huskies is one of the school's two wins against an AP No. 1 team (1981 vs. USC is other) and one of the most memorable plays in school history (Leap by the Lake), as well as one of the top passing performances as well as a pair of clutch kicks.

With some help from Javier Morales at our sister site, here we go down memory lane with the top 5 Arizona wins over Washington ...

5. Arizona 48, Washington 41, Husky Stadium, Oct. 27, 2007

Willie Tuitama passed for a then-school-record 510 yards, including a 27-yard strike to Mike Thomas in the back of the end zone with 2:02 left to rally Arizona to a stunning come-from-behind win.

Tuitama directed the Wildcats 80 yards in 11 plays, capping the decisive drive with a pass to Thomas in the back of the end zone. Arizona, which trailed 41-26 with 12:52 left, scored 22 points in the fourth quarter.

Tuitama completed 38 of 51 passes with five touchdowns. He also had a 66-yard touchdown connection with Thomas to start the scoring, as well as a 51-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski.

4. Arizona 27, Washington 26, Arizona Stadium, Nov. 15, 2014

Casey Skowron kicked a 47-yard field goal on the last play for the victory, after which his teammates hoisted him on their shoulders while he raised his left index finger in the air. He became the first Wildcat to kick a game-winning field goal with his team trailing in the final seconds since a freshman named Max Zendejas drilled a 45-yarder to beat Arizona State in 1983.

Almost as good: Skowron scored a touchdown in the game.

Late in the first half, the Wildcats lined up for a 35-yard field goal. Skowron instead took a direct snap and raced around right end for an 18-yard touchdown, a fake that the coach Rich Rodriguez had put in during practice that week.

It was all sweet redemption for Skowron, who had received internet death threats after missing a late 36-yard field goal in a 28-26 against USC about a month earlier.

"Part of being a great kicker is being able to overcome things that have happened in the past and just go on to the next kick," he said.

Arizona would go on to beat Utah and Arizona State to win the Pac-12 South.

3. Arizona 16, Washington 13, Husky Stadium, Nov. 5, 1988

On a rainy and cold day in Seattle, Arizona place-kicker Doug Pfaff made a 22-yard field goal with five seconds remaining as the Wildcats rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat the Huskies for the first time in the program's history.

Pfaff's kick (his third field goal of the game) was set up by Washington quarterback Cary Conklin's fumble with 55 seconds left. On third-and-7 from the Washington 18, blitzing UA cornerback Scott Geyer blindsided Conklin, whose fumble was recovered by nose guard Dana Wells on the Washington 5.

After Arizona tried two running plays that gained no yardage, coach Dick Tomey called on Pfaff, whose game-winning field goal gave the UA its first win over Washington in seven games between the schools.

2. Arizona 31, Washington 28, Husky Stadium, Oct. 3, 1998

You can read all about Ortege Jenkins and the Leap by the Lake game at the link ...

1. Arizona 16, Washington 3, Arizona Stadium, Nov. 7, 1992

Washington was ranked No. 1 with an incredible 22-game winning streak, but the young Desert Swarm of Rob Waldrop, Tedy Bruschi, Tony Bouie, Brandon Sanders, Sean Harris and pals were not going to be denied as Arizona ran its winning streak to five games after starting the season 1-2-1.

The Wildcats played conservatively on offense -- using the run in 54 out of 66 offensive plays -- and decisively won the ball-control and field-position battle behind their defense and the punting of Josh Miller. Kicker Steve McLaughlin made three field goals in front of a sun-drenched and raucous crowd of 58,510 jammed into Arizona Stadium.

Arizona led 3-0 at halftime and took control in the fourth quarter with a drive from its 43 after Sanders clobbered wide receiver Jason Shelley after a catch, with the ball popping into the air for cornerback Keshon Johnson to run underneath it for an interception.

The Cats drove for the game's only touchdown on George Malauulu's 1-yard keeper with 48 seconds remaining. Fans poured onto the field and tore down the goalposts before the game was over.

"Geez, when we got attacked, everybody was in our face, yelling, 'Good job. Good job.'" Bruschi once told me. "All the booze I smelled on a couple of those guys' breath was atrocious."

Comments (2)
No. 1-2

And helmet to helmet, But for pure drama and excitement..."The Leap,,," was the best, Heck I bet everybody that watched that in TV did a leap also......I DID.

Steve Buchanan
Steve Buchanan


The amazing thing in watching the replay of that 1992 game was how much more contact was allowed out of bounds than in the game of today. Last time I watched, I noted a bunch of ball carriers who were clearly hit on both teams, after going out of bounds. No flags. Just part of the game back then.

Great memories.