Potential \ po·ten·tial | \ pə-ˈten(t)-shəl\
: existing in possibility: capable of development into actuality
The 2019 Arizona State University Sun Devils host an arch-rival Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. That team from Tucson has suffered some sort of an identity crisis @UTucson!
Wildcat Coach Kevin Sumlin is now 9 wins and 14 losses in Tucson. Sumlin has not done much as Head Coach of a Football Program since his first year at Texas A&M (2012 / 11-2). Sumlin’s Quarterback, “Johnny Football” (Johnny Manziel) upset Alabama and then led the Aggies to a 41-13 Cotton Bowl Win over Oklahoma.
Sun Devil Coach Herm Edwards checks “all of the boxes” as a role model, mentor, and man of character. Herm is currently 13-11 in Tempe. After defeating #6 Oregon last week, Herm Edwards was selected as The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week for an unprecedented 3rd time in one year. This after a horrendous 4-game slide in the Pac-12.
This year Arizona State has defeated 4 then-ranked teams in Michigan State, Cal, Washington State, and Oregon, yet struggled with Sacramento State of the FBS. The Sun Devils have lost to Colorado, Utah, UCLA, USC and OSU, all-teams from a talent and speed perspective they should have run with and defeated, Utah included in my humble-observation. They looked ill-prepared throughout the losing stretch.
Herm is now 8 wins and 9 losses against Conference foes, plenty of unrealized potential over his first two campaigns as CEO. Kevin Sumlin is no better standing at 6 & 11.
Regardless of how well the opposition is playing in any given year, the Territorial Cup exists on an island. Both teams showcase grittiness, school pride, and “disdain” for the other. It’s time to walk the talk and finish 2019 with a statement victory for Tempe or Tucson. This one has some serious weight too!
93RD TERRITORIAL CUP
Saturday is the 93rd Duel in the Desert. #UTuscon leads the all-time series 49-42-1. However, since Arizona State achieved University status in 1949, the Sun Devils hold a 40-29-1 record in the series. The actual Territorial Cup trophy is recognized by the NCAA as the nation’s oldest rivalry trophy.
Both programs would love to secure a big Win on ESPN
In 2018, the Sun Devils mounted the largest fourth-quarter comeback in program history, rallying from 19 points down to shock the Wildcats 41-40 on the road. On the Sun Devils’ sideline, Senior Quarterback Manny Wilkins told his teammates to “treat it like a basketball game: get a stop, get a bucket, get a stop, get a bucket.”
We certainly know Jayden Daniels can play point-guard on the gridiron. But perhaps we play to win and score early and often for once?
It was the second-straight victory in the series for Arizona State. One thing is for sure, the Sun Devils do NOT want to write another come-from-behind story-line Saturday night.
Last year ASU’s Defense got the stops including two interceptions. Eno Benjamin scored on a 23-yard touchdown run with 3:08 remaining. A potential game-winning field goal by Josh Pollack of Arizona sailed wide right, and the country’s oldest trophy remained right at home in Tempe.
Neither team has truly dominated the series since the Wildcats went on an 8-0-1 against ASU in the 1980s. Since then, there have only been two occurrences where one team has posted a three-game winning streak (ASU 2005-07, UA 1993-95).
This year’s Senior Class is comprised of Brandon Aiyuk, Cohl Cabral, Darien Cornay, Cade Cote, Roy Hemsley, Tommy Hudson, Khaylan Kearse-Thomas, George Lea, Alex Losoya, Steve Miller, Ryan Newsome, Jonathon Sanchez, Tyler Whiey, Roe Wilkins, Kyle Williams, and Kobe Williams.
The elder statesmen have qualified for a bowl game in each of the last 3-seasons helping account for 25 wins at Arizona State. In the past four years, the group compiled an 18-7 record in games played at Sun Devil Stadium, Frank Kush Field.
Saturday, November 30th, 2019 – 8 p.m. MST Kickoff on ESPN and Arizona Sports 98.7.
The Sun Devils will be looking for their seventh victory in the past 10 contests against Arizona. The winning team has scored at least 41 points in the last 7 contests. Nine of the previous 15 games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
JUST THE FACTS
- 👉 Jayden Daniels has not thrown an interception on 110 consecutive pass attempts, tied with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence for the eighth-longest active streak in the nation. That last interception, however, came on a half-ending Hail Mary against Utah. Erase that, and JD5 has a streak of 178 consecutive passes without an interception over his last six-plus games.
- 👉 The Sun Devils 535 total-yards are the most the Ducks have allowed since TCU recorded 545 in the 2016 Alamo Bowl.
- 👉 NFL-bound Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert had just 3-interceptions thrown all year before the Sun Devils picked him off on back-to-back pass attempts in the fourth quarter. Of his 13 total interceptions in the last two years (24 games), four have come against a Danny Gonzalez led-defense.
- 👉 Kyle Williams has at least one pass reception in 39 consecutive games, tied for fourth in ASU history with Chris McGaha.
- 👉 Brandon Aiyuk and Frank Darby are the only receiving duo in the Pac-12 to each record at least 8 receiving touchdowns this season and one of just seven FBS duos to do so (Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas State, Hawai’i, LSU, Minnesota, SMU).
- 👉 Jayden Daniels was named the Walter Camp FBS National Offensive Player of the Week after the big Oregon win. JD5 jumped 12 spots in Passer-Efficiency Rating with his performance and is now ranked 17th scoring 156.4.
- 👉 If Arizona State wins, it will be the first 3-game winning streak in the series since the Sun Devils won 3-in-a-row from 2005-2007 Dirk Koetter won 2, Dennis Erickson the other. Rudy Carpenter was the “point-guard” on all-three of those Sun Devil Football teams.
- 👉 Eno Benjamin needs 13-yards on the ground to move into 7th all-time in Arizona State career rushing. He is currently at 2,699 behind Daryl Clack’s 2,711-yard total from 1982-1985.
- 👉 Kyle Williams needs 2-games with one-catch to move into a tie for third in Sun Devil history in consecutive games with a reception (currently tied for fourth with 39 behind Derek Hagan’s 41 straight games.).
- 👉 268 all-purpose yards needed for Senior Brandon Aiyuk to set the ASU single-season school record for all-purpose yards (currently at 1,797 behind Wilford White’s 2,065 from back in the 1950 season).
- 👉 41 receiving yards for Aiyuk to move into the Sun Devil’s single-season Top-5 (currently at 1,125 behind Jaelen Strong’s 1,165 in 2014).
WHAT IS VEGAS SAYING ABOUT THIS YEAR’S CUP?
UTucson will step onto Frank Kush Field as a 14-point Underdog against the ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY SUN DEVILS. The total is locked at 59.5.
IT IS ALL IN THE NUMBERS
The Cats’ offense is averaging 28.09 points per game while the Sun Devils stand at 25.27. The other team is surrendering 6.5 yards per play and 484.1 total yards per contest. The Sun Devils are surrendering 387.5 per contest on 5.5 yards per play. Arizona State has been more consistent on both sides of the ball.
Enter a potential X-Factor in Khail Tate. On Sun Devil Senior Day, Wildcat-Khail could conclude an up-and-down college career with a huge effort and victory. His story-line included a breakout season in 2017, when as a sophomore Tate threw for 1,591 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also ran for 1,411 yards adding 12 more scores.
The rumor mill suggests Kevin Sumlin’s job is on the line where a win in the big game would help his case to remain in Tucson for at least another year. Coach Kevin has never been able to inspire the same outcomes for Tate since Rich Rodriguez was dismissed. It’s worth noting that in 2017 when Rich Rod lost to then Head Coach Todd Graham 42-20 in the brawl, he was fired. The interesting thing here is that Coach Todd Graham was also relieved of his duties in Tempe.
This year, Khail Tate has split time with Freshman Grant Gunnell. Combined, the Cats are passing for 231 yards per contest helping to generate 309 points this season. Not bad all things considered, but Kevin Sumlin’s football team is not playing defense well as they’ve allowed 405 points so far.
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“The Catch” With the Sun Devils down 14-3 in the second quarter, ASU QB Dennis Sproul sailed a pass to the back of the Arizona endzone, where John Jefferson made a leaping catch for the touchdown. The momentum helped ASU to a 24-21 victory and a spot in the 1975 Fiesta Bowl. The play is remembered as one of the most famous plays in Sun Devil history. #beatarizona #beatthecats #beatuofa #nopityforthekitty #territorialcup #hateweek #hermedwards #asu #sundevil #sundevils #asufootball #sundevilfootball #arizonastatefootball #arizonastateuniversity #forksup #fearthefork #sportscenter #espn #espncollegefootball #pac12 #pac12south #pac12football #frankkush #johnjefferson
Expect that number to jump another 41 points, as Likens prescribes just what the Sun Devils Offense needs.
Although Arizona State has only passed 266.9 yards per game this year, Likens and Daniels have found a certain rhythm and rhyme when working from behind the 8-ball. It was on display vs. the Ducks.
Offensive balance is key for Arizona State. They should have success pounding the rock and do so straight down the trenches. Doing so will open up some big plays downfield for Brandon Aiyuk and Frank Darby. Eno Benjamin needs 25 or more prescribed runs. Expect Eno to have at least one touch for a big-time run to the house.
Prediction: Two Scenarios…
41-24 ASU if Tate gets the majority of snaps. Sumlin should let Khail Tate loose in his final game allowing it all to hang out. The Sun Devils should score on one-too-many explosive plays to let the Wildcats sniff a win late in this game.
If Freshman Grant Gunnell is standing in the pocket, Arizona State has a field day in space. Gonzalez’s Defense is well-prepared for underneath progressions and the deep ball. Gunnell vs. Daniels = 52-17, ASU. Remember, the Over-Under total is 59.5 and I doubt this suggests a 30-29 type of game.
Game watching and tailgates ow.ly/INvK50vMTwY
More Good Stuff
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“The Fumble” November 24, 2018 With 3:19 left in the game The Devils we’re down 35-40. Arizona had the ball. JJ Taylor rushed left for -2 yards to ARI 22. JJ Taylor Fumbles, Tyler Johnson of Arizona State Recovers the ball. The very next Play Eno Benjamin rushes right for a 22 yard Touchdown giving the Sun Devils a 41-40 lead. Go Devils!! #beatuofa #nopityforthekitty #territorialcup #hateweek #hermedwards #asu #sundevil #sundevils #asufootball #sundevilfootball #arizonastatefootball #arizonastateuniversity #duelinthedesert #forksup #fearthefork #sportscenter #espn #espncollegefootball #pac12 #pac12south #pac12football #frankkush #enobenjamin
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The Wildcats blew a 19 point lead in the 4th Quarter To give ASU a 41-40 Victory. This is Not an April Fools Joke. This actually happened! Tag a u of a fan. #beatuofa #nopityforthekitty #territorialcup #hateweek #hermedwards #asu #sundevil #sundevils #asufootball #sundevilfootball #arizonastatefootball #arizonastateuniversity #duelinthedesert #forksup #fearthefork #sportscenter #espn #espncollegefootball #pac12 #pac12south #pac12football #frankkush #enobenjamin #nkealharry
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November 23, 1996, Jake Plummer leads ASU against Arizona to complete ASU’s perfect regular season which included the shutout of number 1 Nebraska. ASU destroyed Arizona 56-14 completing the perfect season #asu #asufootball #sundevils #forksup #beatthewildcats #jakeplummer #territorialcup