The best defense of the past 20 years just may have been played at Arizona in 1993. Take the Fiesta Bowl -- the Wildcats humiliated Miami, 29-0, allowing the Canes only 35 yards rushing. However, Miami beat Arizona’s average of 30.1 yards allowed per game.
Put another way: Arizona allowed a total of 331 rushing yards that season. No team had allowed so few rushing yards in 34 seasons. Arizona tied for its first Pac-10 title that season. The Wildcats haven’t finished in first place since.
In the middle of that defense stood senior tackle Rob Waldrop. He so dominated the line of scrimmage that Waldrop took home the Nagurski (best defensive player) and Outland (best interior lineman) trophies, a twofer that would not be repeated for 14 years. That came in the season after Waldrop won the 1992 Morris Trophy, given to the Pac-10’s best defensive linemen. Arizona named him the team’s Most Valuable Player.
At 6-foot-2, 275 pounds, the two-time All-American didn’t have the bulk of the modern hole-plugger. Unlike teammate Tedy Bruschi, who went on to a long and distinguished NFL career, Waldrop played three years in the Canadian Football League. But Waldrop used his quickness and strength to great effect in the double-eagle flex defense that former Wildcats coach Dick Tomey employed to devastating effect.
Waldrop finished his career with 171 tackles, 45 of them behind the line and exactly half of those (22.5) for sacks. On Tuesday, he added to that résumé the best line of all. Waldop is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.