Tempe, AZ – There was plenty of buzz in the air and plenty at stake when the Sun Devils and Wildcats took the field for their Territorial Cup battle on Saturday night. Fans packed Sun Devil Stadium to see if ASU could claim victory, keep the cup and earn home field advantage for their Pac-12 championship game with Stanford next week. The Sun Devils got the job done by beating the Wildcats 58-21, to finish with 10 wins on the regular season and keep the Territorial Cup in Tempe.
The Sun Devils received the opening kickoff and chewed up some clock early with a 13 play, 54 yard drive that took 4:37. They could only manage a Zane Gonzalez field goal to take an early lead 3-0. The ASU defense also set the tone early with two sacks and good pressure on Wildcat QB BJ Denker. On their next possession, the Devils marched down the field again, but had to settle for another Gonzalez field goal increasing their lead to 6-0. After the ASU defense held again, Taylor Kelly hit Darwin Rogers on a beautiful play call by Mike Norvell for a 38 yard wide open score along the sideline in front of the student section. End of the first quarter, ASU 13 – UA 0.
The Sun Devil defense continued their solid play and held the Wildcats on two fourth downs. D.J. Foster was on a mission in the first half and scored on a 14 yard TD run to increase the ASU lead to 20-0 with 12:58 left in the half. DeMarieya Nelson followed that up with a powerful one yard TD run, and ASU was in complete control, 27-0. The Wildcats finally put together a respectable drive capped off by BJ Denker squirming his way into the endzone to get the Cats on the board. After a 50 yard bomb to Jaelen Strong, Zane Gonzalez tacked on another field goal before the half. Total yards for both teams at the break: ASU 314 / UA 211.
Halftime Score: ASU 17 – UA 10
After the break, the Wildcats came out determined and put together a 7 play, 75 yard drive capped off by an 8 yard Ka’Deem Carey touchdown. At this point, Taylor Kelly and the ASU offense had trouble finding their rhythm, but they didn’t need to. Damarious Randall intercepted a BJ Denker pass and returned it 64 yards and a pick six. That was a big momentum swing in the game as ASU increased their lead to 37-14 and never looked back. The Cats put together another scoring drive, but the Sun Devils countered with a 61 yard bomb from Taylor Kelly to Jaelen Strong. ASU was in control at the end of the third quarter 44-21.
The Sun Devils didn’t take their foot off the pedal in the final quarter as DJ Foster hammered his way into the endzone on a determined 7 yard scoring run. ASU led 51-21 with 13:17 left in the game. Later, the Devils put a final nail in the coffin with a one yard DeMarieya Nelson TD run. The Sun Devils finished with a total of 478 yards (274 passing / 204 rushing). The Wildcats finished with 424 total yards (175 passing / 249 rushing).
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