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Arizona football countdown: 39 days, Antoine Cason's 39-yard pick-six propels Arizona's upset of #8 Cal in 2006

Cason's pick-six helped lead Arizona to one of its biggest wins in program history

Harry How/Getty Images

After having a putrid 12-34 record from 2002-2005, 2006 was an important year for Arizona football. They finished 6-6, which was the team's first non-losing record since 1999.

One of the biggest victories in 2006 was Arizona's 24-20 win over the No. 8 California Golden Bears at Arizona Stadium.

After trailing 17-3 in the third quarter, Arizona was able to tie the game after two touchdown runs by Chris Henry. Then, with just under 13 minutes left in the 4th quarter, Antoine Cason stepped in front a pass from Nate Longshore and took it the distance for a 39-yard pick-six to put the 'Cats up 24-17.

Here's the video of the play (watching it over, and over, and over, and over again is completely normal):

If you recall, later in the 4th quarter DeSean Jackson caught an apparent go-ahead 63-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes left in the game.

It turns out Jackson stepped out of bounds well before reaching the end zone. A few plays later, former Arizona linebacker Ronnie Palmer would put the nail in the coffin in the upset with an interception.

The fans would storm the field as the clock expired, and with good reason. Not only did Arizona complete an upset of a top-10 team, the program was starting to climb out of the deep abyss known as the "John Mackovic years".

For Cason, this big play was one of many in his storied career at Arizona. The following year in 2007, Cason would go on to win the Jim Thorpe Award (the award for the nation's top defensive back), and was named as a consensus All-American. He then became the first Arizona Wildcat to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since Trung Canidate in 2000.

He's undoubtedly one of the best players in Arizona football history.