When I think of classic Stanford-Arizona games, I think of basketball. Todd Lichti's 35 points in 1989. Peter Sauer's baseline jumper in 1997. Nick Robinson's halfcourt heave in 2004. I definitely don't think of football, much less Todd Husak's 364 yards passing against the Wildcats in 1999.
Stanford and Arizona don't share much of a gridiron rivalry and the stakes have rarely been high for both teams when they've played. In fact, Saturday's primetime showdown at Stanford Stadium will mark the first time the No. 10 Cardinal and No. 13 Wildcats have met as ranked teams. Their last three meetings have been decided by a total of 7 points, including a pair of one-point victories by Stanford.
Here's a look back at eight of the more memorable games--including a trip to Tokyo--in the all-time series, which Arizona leads 14-11.
FOLES FOILS STANFORD
October 17, 2009: Arizona 43, Stanford 38
This game had a little bit of everything, including David Hasselhoff singing the national anthem. Nick Foles passed for 415 yards and three touchdowns, as Arizona overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half to steal a wild one in the desert. Andrew Luck threw for 423 yards and three touchdowns in defeat and Jim Harbaugh called it "the toughest loss you can be a part of." Harbaugh elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Arizona 8 with Stanford leading 38-36 and 5:27 remaining. Luck found Chris Owusu wide open in the flat, but he dropped the ball. After the Wildcats rallied to take the lead, Stanford's final drive stalled at the Arizona 17, when Luck's pass intended for Owusu was batted down in the end zone.
MORE CHARACTER THAN CRUELTY
November 10, 2001: No. 16 Stanford 51, Arizona 37
Stanford was coming off a disappointing loss at Washington that put a damper on the excitement of climbing into the AP Top 10 with consecutive wins over Oregon and UCLA. The Cardinal rebounded with a rout of the Wildcats in Tucson. Chris Lewis passed for three first-half touchdowns and Stanford returned two fumbles for scores to build a 51-17 lead. Teyo Johnson had a career day, hauling in eight catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Head coach Ty Willingham reinserted many of his starters after the Wildcats scored three touchdowns in 5 minutes to close the gap and save some face.
CARDINAL LEAVES TOMEY SPEECHLESS
September 18, 1999: Stanford 50, No. 19 Arizona 22
Arizona was ranked No. 4 in the preseason AP poll and a heavy favorite to win the Pac-10. All that hype was a distant memory after Stanford dealt the host Wildcats their second blowout loss in four games. Todd Husak threw for 364 yards and freshman Kerry Carter ran for three touchdowns to lead Stanford, which was blown out 69-17 by Texas in its season opener. "It is hard to say anything," said Arizona head coach Dick Tomey, who forced his team to practice at 7 a.m. on Sunday. "This was an awful performance. It's a poorly coached football team. ...If anybody in this room can sleep tonight, they are not the man I thought they were."
WILDCATS BEAR DOWN, BOTTLE UP STANFORD
October 11, 1997: Arizona 28, No. 16 Stanford 22
Redshirt freshman Ortege Jenkins threw four touchdowns, including two to Dennis Northcutt, to lead Arizona to the win in Tucson. The Cardinal entered the game averaging 239 yards rushing per game, but was limited to 11 yards on 32 carries. Stanford lost five fumbles and quarterback Chad Hutchinson was sacked six times. Jenkins, who was making his second career start, would lead Arizona to a 12-1 record the following year. Who can forget his "Leap by the Lake" to beat Washington that season?
LATE FIELD GOAL LIFTS 'CATS
October 16, 1993: No. 11 Arizona 27, Stanford 24
Steve McLaughlin kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired to lead the Wildcats to a come-from-behind win in Tucson. Akil Jackson forced a Steve Stenstrom fumble deep in Stanford territory with 40 seconds remaining to set up the winning field goal. It was the Cardinal’s seventh turnover of the game. Stanford led 17-0 in the second half before Arizona roared back to take a 24-17 lead. The Cardinal tied the game on a touchdown run by Ellery Roberts, but was limited to 8 yards on 22 carries against the nation's top-ranked rushing defense. Stenstrom threw for 339 yards and two touchdowns in defeat.
'ZONA DOES THE DIRTY WORK
October 17, 1992: Arizona 21, No. 8 Stanford 6
Led by linebacker Tedy Bruschi, visiting Arizona sacked Stanford quarterbacks eight times and held running back Glyn Milburn to six yards on six carries to end the Cardinal's five-game winning streak. "We're not interested in making names or getting glamor," Wildcats safety Brandon Sanders said after the game. "We just do the dirty work." Bruschi forced a fumble by backup quarterback Matt Butterfield, who replaced Steve Stenstrom, at the 1-yard line, leading to a Wildcats touchdown. Stanford rushed for minus-33 yards as a team, the second worst rushing performance in school history. "We were beaten rather soundly today," Stanford head coach Bill Walsh said. "Arizona demonstrated a lot more speed."
CLAP FOR TOUCHDOWNS
November 29, 1986: Stanford 29, No. 12 Arizona 24
Brad Muster helped Stanford shake off a disappointing loss to Cal with 108 yards rushing and a touchdown in the regular season finale for both teams, which was played in Tokyo's Olympic Memorial Stadium. In the week leading up to the event formerly known as the Mirage Bowl, Arizona head coach Larry Smith allowed his players to experience the Tokyo nightlife. Stanford head coach Jack Elway didn't let his team leave the hotel. "We hadn’t gone out any night we have been here," said backup quarterback Greg Ennis, who passed for one touchdown and ran for another. "After the loss to California, we had to prove we could do it." Smith took a different stance. "What are we supposed to do?," he said. "You come to Japan for once in your lifetime and stay in a hotel? That doesn't make sense." You know what else didn't make sense? Football to many of those in attendance. Cheerleaders flashed signs around the stadium instructing the crowd when to cheer.
WIGGIN'S FINAL WIN
October 22, 1983: Stanford 31, No. 19 Arizona 22
John Paye passed for 280 yards and three touchdowns, as Stanford ended a nine-game losing streak with an upset at home. The Cardinal overcame a 10-0 deficit for its first and only win of the season, and Paye broke John Elway’s freshman record for touchdown passes in a season with eight. Head coach Paul Wiggin, who was dismissed after the season, finished his four-year Stanford career with a 17-27 record.
Do you have a favorite Stanford-Arizona football memory? Let me know in the comments.