1977 Arizona Wildcats football
ConferenceWestern Athletic Conference
1977 record5–7 (3–4 WAC)
Head coach
Home stadiumArizona Stadium
Seasons
← 1976
1978 →
1977 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 20 BYU + 6 1 0 9 2 0
No. 18 Arizona State + 6 1 0 9 3 0
Colorado State 5 2 0 9 2 1
Wyoming 4 3 0 4 6 1
Arizona 3 4 0 5 7 0
New Mexico 2 5 0 5 7 0
Utah 2 5 0 3 8 0
UTEP 0 7 0 1 10 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1977 Arizona Wildcats football team represented the University of Arizona in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) during the 1977 NCAA Division I football season. In their first season under head coach Tony Mason, the Wildcats compiled a 5–7 record (3–4 against WAC opponents), finished in fifth place in the WAC, and outscored their opponents, 256 to 250.[1][2] The team played its home games in Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona. This was Arizona’s (and rival Arizona State’s) final season as members of the WAC and joined the Pac-8 Conference, which became the Pac-10, in the following season.

Mason replaced Jim Young, who left for Purdue after the 1976 season ended.[3]

The team's statistical leaders included Marc Lunsford with 1,344 passing yards, Derriak Anderson with 568 rushing yards, and Harry Holt with 423 receiving yards.[4] Linebacker Corky Ingraham led the team with 153 total tackles.[5]

Before the season

Arizona concluded the 1976 season with a record of 5–6 (3–4 in WAC). Young accepted the head coaching position at Purdue afterwards, and Mason was chosen to be his successor. Mason, who coached at Cincinnati, came to Arizona to rebuild the program and promised to return the team to its winning ways.[6]

Schedule

DateOpponentSiteResult
September 10at Auburn*L 10–21
September 17San Diego State*L 14–21
September 24at Iowa*W 41–7
October 1at WyomingL 12–13
October 8Texas Tech*
  • Arizona Stadium
  • Tucson, AZ
L 26–32
October 22Utah
  • Arizona Stadium
  • Tucson, AZ
W 45–17
October 29at BYUL 14–34
November 5Colorado State
  • Arizona Stadium
  • Tucson, AZ
L 14–35
November 12New Mexico
  • Arizona Stadium
  • Tucson, AZ (rivalry)
W 15–13
November 19at UTEPW 41–24
November 26at Arizona StateL 7–23
December 3at Hawaii*W 17–10
  • *Non-conference game

Personnel

1977 Arizona Wildcats football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
K Lee Pistor
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Injured
  • Redshirt

Game summaries

Auburn

For the second year in a row, Arizona opened the season against Auburn. It was also their first visit to an SEC team’s home stadium. In Mason’s first game as Arizona coach, the Wildcats started slow and never recovered as the Tigers got the victory.[7] As of 2021, both Arizona and Auburn have not played each other since.

Iowa

Arizona traveled to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes. The Wildcats got their offense going and Mason captured his first win as Wildcat coach.[8]

New Mexico

The Wildcats faced New Mexico in their home finale. Arizona’s offense struggled at times but was able to get past the Lobos and the Kit Carson Rifle returned back to Tucson for the first time since 1974.[9] This turned out to be Mason’s only meeting against New Mexico. It was also the last meeting between the Wildcats and Lobos until 1987 (due to Arizona leaving the WAC).

Arizona State

In Mason’s debut against Arizona State, the Wildcats were unable to overcome Arizona State and its home crowd and lost to the Sun Devils for the third straight year.[10] This was the final WAC game played by the two teams.

Hawaii

The Wildcats played a twelfth game of the season due to non-conference scheduling. They traveled to Hawaii in their season finale. Both Arizona and Hawaii’s defense shut down the offense and led to a low-scoring game. In the end, the Wildcats came out victorious.[11] Coincidentally, Hawaii was coached by Dick Tomey, a future Arizona coach who would have a successful tenure with the Wildcats.

Season notes

References

  1. ^ "1977 Arizona Wildcats Schedule and Results". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  2. ^ "Arizona Football 2016 Media Guide" (PDF). University of Arizona. 2016. p. 107. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  3. ^ "Wildcats pick Cincinnati's Mason as head football coach". Arizona Daily Wildcat. January 10, 1977.
  4. ^ "1977 Arizona Wildcats Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  5. ^ 2016 Media Guide, p. 86.
  6. ^ "Mason plans to return Wildcats back to winning". Arizona Daily Star. January 5, 1977.
  7. ^ "Auburn tops Arizona in Mason's debut". Arizona Daily Star. September 11, 1977.
  8. ^ "Wildcats crush Iowa on road, give Mason his first win". Arizona Daily Star. September 25, 1977.
  9. ^ "Wildcats edge Lobos, Kit Carson Rifle heads back to Tucson". Tucson Daily Citizen. November 13, 1977.
  10. ^ "Three's a crowd: ASU gets third straight win over UA". The Arizona Republic. November 27, 1977.
  11. ^ "Wildcats edge Hawaii in low-scoring affair". Arizona Daily Wildcat. December 5, 1977.