If Dennis Erickson’s seat was hot before Saturday’s Territorial Cup showdown against Arizona, it’s on fire now following the Wildcats 31-27 upset over Arizona State in Tempe.
Just three weeks ago, ASU was in the driver’s seat to win the Pac-12 South and possibly punch their ticket to a BCS game. Three straight losses later, those are now just a distant memory as the Devils continue to sputter to the finish line.
So where did it all go wrong against against ‘Cats who entered the game with one conference win?
“Turnovers. Penalties,” a dejected Erickson told the media. “When you have a 10-point lead, you should be able to hold that. It was the worst tackling game we’ve ever had”
The Sun Devils stormed back from an early 14-0 deficit and held a 27-17 heading into the fourth quarter before Nick Foles and Arizona back-up Bryson Beirne helped UofA spoil the fun at Sun Devil Stadium.
Foles connected with fellow senior Gino Crump for a 33-yard touchdown to pull the Wildcats to within three before Beirne found Juron Criner on a 23-yard strike to put Arizona ahead to stay. Foles left the game mid-way through the fourth quarter after laying on the turf for several minutes with an undisclosed injury.
“No words can explain it, ” ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler said. “As a quarterback, it’s my job to get our team in the end zone and I didn’t do that tonight.”
It may be Osweiler’s job to get ASU in the end zone, but it’s Erickson’s job to win games and the jury is still out as to if he’s done that enough to return next season.
He didn’t speculate on his future following the loss.
“I don’t know about (losing his job),” Erickson explained. “It’s out there. Everything is speculation. Nobody really knows.”
What we do know is ASU no longer holds the golden ticket to the Pac-12 south and there will be much more time this week discussing Erickson’s shaky future than Senior Day against Cal next weekend.