Tag: Territorial Cup

Battle For The Territorial Cup At Highest Level in Years

TEMPE – The 92nd meeting between Arizona and Arizona State heads for the gridiron this Saturday and supporters of both schools couldn’t be more pleased.

In a year when both schools were predicted to finish at the bottom of the Pac-12 South Division, they are now playing for a second place finish behind the University of Southern California. Depending on what part of the state you were in, the opinions varied on who would claim the cellar, yet neither fan base had much hope for even becoming bowl eligible this season.

The Wildcats started the season with Brandon Dawkins under center. Dawkins struggled in the opener against in-state FCS opponent Northern Arizona University, putting up a paltry 7-of-13 for 89 yards and one touchdown pass.

Is Tate the Cure-All for the Wildcats?

Head coach Rich Rodriguez’s squad would go on to lose two of the next three at home to Houston and Utah before opting to shake things up at the quarterback position. Enter sophomore Khalil Tate, and the rest they say, is history.

Tate rushed for 327 yards and four touchdowns while throwing for another 142 yards and a touchdown against Colorado sparking a huge four-game win streak with Tate ripping off big runs and scoring almost at will. During the stretch, Tate piled up all the accolades thanks to his five passing and four rushing touchdowns.

Over the past three weeks, the ‘Cats and Tate hit a roadblock losing two of three with their only victory being over a one-win Oregon State team.

The scene in Tempe was much more bleak at the start of the 2017 season. The Sun Devils were coming off their worst season of the Pac-12 era where they literally gave up in the final game of the 2016 season surrendering 56 points in Tucson.

The writing was on the wall for the Sun Devils and head coach Todd Graham – this was unacceptable.

Armed with a healthy quarterback in Manny Wilkins, a five-star backup quarterback who started for Alabama last year and a new coordinator on each side of the ball, the Sun Devils looked ready to compete.

Until the season started.

The Sun Devils were embarrassed in their home opener by nearly losing to New Mexico State and going on to lose the next two non-conference games to San Diego State and Texas Tech.

All was not well in Tempe and losses in what was supposed to be the easy part of the schedule looked to be a harbinger of things to come with conference play looming large.

N’Keal Harry Doing Great Things

Conference play for the Sun Devils was a gauntlet facing three ranked teams at home including Oregon, Washington and USC along with two tough road games at always-tough Stanford and Utah.

Nobody in their right mind could have predicted that the Devils would go on to beat then-No. 24 Oregon or then-No. 5 Washington, but the defense stepped up big…I mean huge. They were close wins, but they were wins—against ranked teams and the Sun Devil faithful believed once again.

The road games against Stanford, Utah, UCLA and Oregon St. were a literal “Tale of Two Devil Teams.”

After beating Oregon at home, Graham took his team on the road to face Heisman Trophy finalist running back Bryce Love and the Stanford Cardinal. Love, the former track and field speedster proved why he was a front-runner shredding the Sun Devil defense for 301 yards and three touchdowns.

Following the Washington win, the Devils put on a defensive clinic at Rice-Eccles Stadium holding the Utah Utes to three points for the first 57 minutes of the game. The road woes came back to haunt the Devils losing in embarrassing fashion to a hapless UCLA team. True to form, the following road game showed the offensive firepower of Manny Wilkins by scoring the first 30 points against Oregon State.

The momentum coming into the game is definitely on the side of the Sun Devils who have won two of their last three with the Wildcats losing two of three. All bets are off, however, when it comes to a rivalry game.

Literally.

The Greatest Picture of all Time

Most odds-makers have this game as a ‘pick-em’ meaning there is no clear favorite so bet accordingly. Here are a couple nuggets that will make this game all the more exciting.

  • The team with the worse record has won 13 times since 1979, ASU was nationally ranked four times during that span and lost to Arizona. Arizona was nationally ranked once and lost to ASU 7-6 in 1992.
  • The team with the worse record has won five of the last seven years.
  • The home team has won the past four years and 11 of the past 20 years.
  • Arizona State (Normal School) won the first ever meeting in 1899.
  • Arizona leads the all-time series 49-40-1.
  • Since Arizona State became a university in 1958, the Sun Devils lead the series 31-26-1.
  • Since both teams moved to the Pac-10 from the WAC in 1978, Arizona leads 21-17-1 including a streak of 9-0-1.
  • This century, ASU leads 10-7 and has won three of the past five years.

Regardless of what you think will happen, the opposite will usually occur. This game has seen it all from Arizona students burning the brand new field at Sun Devil Stadium in 1958 to two blocked PAT’s on a cold December night in 2010.

While that stung for Arizona, they will always have their big moment. In 1986, both teams came in to the game nationally ranked; the ‘Cats were 7-2 and ranked No. 14 and hosted the No. 4 Sun Devils who came to Tucson sporting a 9-0-1 record. Of course, Arizona went on to win that game being the only blemish on the Pac-10 and Rose Bowl champion’s resume.

This year’s game in Tempe has big bowl implications when we thought for sure the only thing they would be fighting for was saving their head coach from the unemployment line.

Tempe Chamber of Commerce Hosts Kickoff Luncheon

Ray Sparky

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce hosted another legendary luncheon in anticipation of the 2014 Sun Devil Football season. Frank Kush was there, Rose Bowl winning quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst was there, the 2013 Pac-12 Coach of the Year Todd Graham was there and so was DieHard Devil.

It was a veritable “Who’s Who” of Arizona State football at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, just a stone’s throw away from Sun Devil Stadium. The ballroom was packed, and the Tempe Chamber of Commerce sold out the event with 520 passionate Sun Devil football fans in attendance.

“We enjoy a wonderful relationship with the University, we’re partners on many different levels” Sean Donovan, Vice President of Media and Program Development told me prior to the event. “This is one opportunity to show our support very publicly and very visibly. We are happy to celebrate the start of the new season and bring the wonderful people and passionate players of Arizona State University to the community.”

Tempe ChamberThe “Voice of the Sun Devils,” Tim Healey, hosted the ceremony and incited the room of fervent Sun Devil football fans with talk of Arizona State truly having “unfinished business.” While it is always nice to say that the Devils are the defending Pac-12 South champion, there is so much more work to be done. The Pac-12 Championship, the Rose Bowl, and, yes, even the National Championship are goals for the 2014 Sun Devil football team.

The daughter of legendary Arizona State basketball and baseball coach, Bill Kajikawa, Dr. Christine Wilkinson spoke to the crowd on behalf of the ASU Alumni Association. Dr. Wilkinson, the President of the Alumni Association, has worn several hats at the University, including interim Athletic Director, and has more knowledge about the school and its history than even the most passionate alum.

Healey’s partner for the past 20+ years, Jeff Van Raaphorst joined him to discuss where the Devils have been and where they are going, and it’s evident that the Rose Bowl is only a step along the way. Van Raaphorst admitted that current ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly has the ability to eclipse his records and has the opportunity to join him among ASU’s elite quarterbacks.

Vice President of University Athletics, Ray Anderson joined the hosts on stage to talk about playing with class. “There will be no trash talking on this team,” Anderson told the crowd. “Sun Devils will play with class, honor and integrity. This will also be evident in how they live their lives off the field as well.”

With Jamil & The Cup

With Jamil & The Cup

I was hoping to see more unorthodox footwear from head football coach Todd Graham at the event. He has worn boots to flip-flops to address the media this year, but today was just a pair of smart, black dress shoes while he spoke with Healey and Van Raaphorst.

“We have unfinished business this year,” Graham said. “Our goal is not only to return to the Pac-12 Championship Game, but also the Rose Bowl and the National Championship. While those goals may be lofty, I believe in our guys. We are faster, smarter and more physical than previous years, so that is what’s expected.”

The Territorial Cup made its appearance when Kelly and offensive lineman Jamil Douglas joined the panel. Kelly and Douglas reinforced the “unfinished business” mantra and voiced their desire to take the Pac-12 and the nation by storm.

When Healey asked Douglas “What part of the Territorial Cup victory was most difficult for you?” He responded “Hoisting the cup after the game.”

“It was more taxing holding the cup up for so long than actually winning it.” Douglas said in closing.

Let’s hope they have no problem keeping the cup for years to come.

 

Territorial Cup Series Trophy Comes Down to the Wire in Arizona

asu ua baseballWhen the Arizona State Sun Devils (33-15-1, 14-10) and Arizona Wildcats (29-20, 10-14) take the field this weekend, they will be playing for more than just baseball supremacy.

The Territorial Cup Series Trophy will also be handed out this weekend. The series matches both schools in 18 varsity sports throughout the season; through 20 contests, the schools are in a dead heat, tied at 8.5 points each.

Here is the breakdown of points so far:

Arizona State

  • Men’s Cross Country
  • Women’s Soccer
  • Football
  • Women’s Basketball
  • Women’s Indoor Track & Field
  • Women’s Tennis
  • Men’s Golf
  • Men’s Track & Field
  • Volleyball—split series
Can the 'Cats get back to Omaha?

Can the ‘Cats get back to Omaha?

Arizona

  • Women’s Cross Country
  • Men’s Basketball
  • Men’s Swimming & Diving
  • Women’s Swimming & Diving
  • Gymnastics
  • Women’s Golf
  • Softball
  • Women’s Track & Field
  • Volleyball—split series

 

To say that this baseball series is huge is selling it short, this is monumental.

Arizona is the defending National Champion and were nearly flawless in the postseason winning 10 straight en route to their fourth title. A program rich in tradition with 16 College World Series appearances has struggled in 2013 and a series loss would most likely end the Wildcats’ three year postseason streak.

The No. 13 Sun Devils, as ranked by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball need at least a series win but a sweep would go a long way in ensuring that they secure a top-16 seed and will host a NCAA Regional Tournament.

The teams split the first two non-conference games played in Tucson earlier this year with the Sun Devils blowing a 8-2 lead in the first contest eventually losing 10-9. The Devils returned the favor two weeks later by erasing an early three-run deficit to win 7-5.

Ryan Kellogg is 10-0 this season

Ryan Kellogg is 10-0 this season

The teams dominate the Pac-12 standings with Arizona leading in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored, runs batted in, triples and walks. Arizona State leads the conference in slugging percentage, doubles, home runs and total bases.

The top-three individual conference leaders in runs scored, runs batted in, hits, triples and total bases are from one of the Arizona schools.

The pitching matchups are also intriguing with Konner Wade (4-5, 4.38) taking the mound for Arizona against Arizona State’s Trevor Williams (5-5, 3.59) on Friday. The Pac-12’s leader in wins, Ryan Kellogg (10-0, 3.36) will pitch on Saturday for the Sun Devils facing Arizona’s James Farris (4-5, 4.20). Sunday’s matinee features Tyler Crawford (5-2, 4.02) for the visiting Wildcats against Zak Miller (4-0, 4.28) defending the home field.

This weekend is rivalry weekend across the Pac-12 with the Civil War in Oregon claiming top billing but don’t overlook this heated matchup that will bring enough hitting and high scoring to heat up an already scorching desert landscape.