The No. 10 most controversial moment in the Territorial Cup Game between ASU and UA:
The 2011 Post-Game Flag Fiasco
It wasn’t quite the melee that occurred at midfield of Sun Devil Stadium a decade earlier (check back when we dive deeper into the Top 10 list for that gem), but it was certainly enough to cause a ruckus at the end of another nail-biting Duel in the Desert. at some point while the players were exiting the field, the Wildcat flag fell into the hands of their enemy.
at some point while the players were exiting the field, the Wildcat flag fell into the hands of their enemy.
In 2011, visiting UA had just upset ASU 31-27, as Wildcat defensive back Shaquille Richardson forced an incomplete pass at the goal line from ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler to wide receiver Mike Willie.
The white-clad Wildcats had just silenced the “Blackout” ASU crowd, putting a positive spin on a lost season in which the Wildcats had opened the season 2-8 and saw their head coach, Mike Stoops, fired halfway through their campaign.
Back in the visiting locker room, the Wildcats celebrated with the Territorial Cup while singing their fight song, “Bear Down, Arizona,” at full throat. But before they left the field, they decided to rub some salt in the Devils’ wounds by running to the middle of the field and planting the UA flag squarely on top of the ASU logo.
Needless to say, plenty of ASU players didn’t take kindly to the gesture, running out to greet the Wildcats and taking issue with their rivals attempting to stake their claim on their home turf.
The situation was diffused before a physical altercation took place. But at some point while the players were exiting the field, the Wildcat flag fell into the hands of their enemy.
Moments later, the flag found its way into the ASU student section, where Sun Devil fans promptly tore it apart.
“To see them put the flag in the middle of our ‘A,’ dance in the middle of our field, and being so disrespectful and all that, that really got us fired up. And we decided that when we won (41-34 over UA in Tucson the following year), we weren’t going to do all that. We were just going to walk off the field and celebrate with our fans.
“We walked in there as a winning team with character. Todd Graham really pushed the guys to play like that. And if we would’ve danced on that field – I guarantee you, anybody who would’ve done that would not be playing in the bowl game.”
-ASU linebacker Brandon Magee (2008-12)
Shane Dale is the author “Territorial: The History of the Duel in the Desert.”
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