A Look at Stanford's Series With Arizona From a Different Perspective
Oct. 8, 2008
A Look at the Stanford-Arizona Series ...Factoids, or Odd Facts?
As GoStanford.com guest writer John Platz `84 points out, when Stanford and the Arizona Wildcats meet on the football field, unusual things happen.
Stanford and Arizona have faced off against each other just 23 times since the first meeting between the two schools in 1979. Though Stanford played Arizona fewer times than any Pac-10 opponent, a series of odd and quirky events seem to surround this series. Keep these little oddities in mind as Stanford prepares to meet Arizona for the 24th time on Saturday at Stanford Stadium. Kick off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
Stanford has been far more successful against Arizona in Tucson (6-6 all-time record) than at home (3-7).
During Stanford's fabulous 1992 season -- in which it went 9-3 with a Blockbuster Bowl blowout of Penn State -- the Cardinal had a 5-1 home record, including a win over USC. The lone home defeat? A 21-6 loss to Arizona.
During Stanford's difficult 1983 season, the Cardinal won just one game all season. The lone bright spot in that 1-10 campaign? A 31-22 Stanford Stadium win over, yes, Arizona.
In 1982, with Stanford just one week removed from a home win over No. 1-ranked Washington, Arizona came to Stanford Stadium and stunned Stanford 41-27. The Wildcats scored four touchdowns in the final 12 minutes to overcome a 27-13 deficit. One first-quarter touchdown was scored by an obscure running back named Vance Johnson -- later to become a favorite NFL receiver of John Elway in Denver. It was a harbinger of the oddest outcome for a Stanford football team ever: 'The Play' in Berkeley, two weeks later.
In 1986, the teams played a Pac-10 Conference football game in, of all places, Tokyo. Stanford won the game, 29-24
In the 1989 Stanford vs. Arizona contest in Tucson -- Denny Green's first game as Stanford head coach -- the buses that were supposed to transport the team to the stadium failed to show up at the team hotel. When buses finally arrived, a police escort was needed to get the team through game-arriving traffic and into the stadium in time for the kickoff.
The 2006 Stanford-Arizona game at Stanford Stadium may have been the most unusual of them all. The Cardinal offense was unable to cross midfield and mustered only 52 yards of total offense, the lowest output in Stanford history.
There have been times when Stanford's offense has exploded against Arizona. Only 10 times in the past 365 games has Stanford scored 50 or more points. Two of those have come against Arizona, in back-to-back trips to Tucson, no less. In its 1999 Rose Bowl season, Stanford blasted Arizona, 50-22. And, in 2001, Stanford rolled the `Cats 51-37.
Two Stanford running backs, Brian Allen and Kenneth Tolon, each rushed for more than 100 yards against Arizona in 2001. It is the only time in 30 years of conference play that Stanford has had two running backs rush for over 100 yards.
Since the conference expanded to 10 teams in 1978, Stanford has had Arizona on the schedule fewer times than any other conference opponent, only 23 times. Even the conference scheduler thinks this series is an outlier variable.
John Platz graduated from Stanford in 1984 with a bachelor or arts degree in economics. For the past 20 years, he has served as a radio analyst on Stanford's basketball broadcasts and has also handled play-by-play duties for both basketball and football on occasion. Platz also served as the lead play-by-play voice of Stanford baseball during the Cardinal's back-to-back NCAA Championship seasons of 1988 and '93, earning him the distinction of being the only announcer in Stanford history to have broadcast Stanford games in the Final Four and College World Series.
A former basketball letterman, Platz received joint J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from the Stanford's Law School and Graduate School of Business in 1989. A native of San Marino, he currently served as senior counsel at Cisco Systems, Inc. in San Jose.