After one year in Tucson, The Territorial Cup will return to Tempe after Arizona State knocked off Arizona 52-37 from Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday evening. ASU wracked up 565 yards of total offense and forced three key turnovers that led to 14 points in the win.
Here are five things we learned from the game:
Lettin’ Lucien: ASU struggled moving the chains on their first few drives with 51 total yards on their first three drives. That was until Mike Bercovici decided to dial up Devin Lucien for some deep passes. He connected with him for a 58 yard gain leading to an eight yard touchdown by Demario Richard. Then on a fake reverse, Bercovici hit Lucien again for a 59 yard touchdown. His longest reception coming into the game on the year was 42 yards. Lucien had 125 yards receiving after the first quarter alone and it didn’t stop there. He finished with nine catches for 190 yards and the one touchdown. Easily his best performance as a Sun Devil in his first and last Territorial Cup game.
QB Controversy: Redshirt Senior Jarrard Randall was pulled pulled by Rich Rodriguez in the middle of the second quarter after completing just four of his 13 throws for 35 yards. There were multiple times, especially in the opening quarter, where Randall had players open down field for big gains but missed them. Redshirt freshman Brandon Dawkins came into the game and led the Wildcats offense on their first offensive drive into the Sun Devil red zone and their first offensive points of the game for Arizona after a 22 yard Field Goal by Casey Skowron. Dawkins came into the game having only appeared in three games this season in garbage time against NAU, UCLA and Stanford.
He brought the Wildcats back within eight two different times in the game but two pick sixes thrown in the fourth put the game out of reach. He finished with 305 yards in the air with two touchdowns and two interceptions plus 78 yards rushing with one touchdown. He sure made the quarterback battle for next season with Anu Solomon interesting going into next season.
Sun Devils Stuff the Run: ASU defending the run. With Anu Solomon out, the earnest on the Sun Devils was to prevent the Wildcats from getting the run game going. They passed with flying colors as Arizona had just 58 total yards on the ground at halftime and leading rusher Nick Wilson, who had a monster 2014 Territorial Cup game, as well as Jared Baker had a combined nine yards rushing on nine carries. Christian Sam was everywhere leading the team in tackles with ten including one tackle for loss and also forced fumble in the game.
Coach Rod Choked Up: After the game, Rich Rodriguez began to get emotional when talking about the Wildcats 12 games in 12 weeks and the highs and lows they experienced. In the game, Arizona was playing many players who were third and fourth on the depth chart at key positions including quarterback, safety and mike linebacker. Rodriguez did mention that the notion of the injuries was not an excuse for the result. Just a fact of the matter. The Wildcats finish the season 6-6 and await to see what bowl they will be selected to play in to finish what has been a roller coaster 2015 campaign.
ASU Bowl Eligible: With the win, ASU is now Bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive season. Arizona State will go for win number seven next week against Cal. Head Coach Todd Graham said after the game that he felt better with six wins and a Territorial Cup win than he did a year ago at this time with ten wins but a Territorial Cup loss. He he wants this game “about as bad as you can need something,” and said he doesn’t ever want to feel the way he felt after last season’s game again.