The Herm Edwards-Kevin Sumlin era of the 119-year-old Territorial Cup rivalry between the Arizona State Sun Devils and Arizona Wildcats is about to begin.
On Saturday, the 6-5 Sun Devils head to Tucson to face the 5-6 Wildcats in a game with bowl implications. UA needs a win simply to become bowl eligible, while ASU is looking to improve its bowl standing. The Sun Devils are looking to keep the Cup in Tempe after a 42-30 win over Arizona in Tempe last year.
Both teams are coming off disappointing losses. The Devils' heartbreaking defeat at Oregon last weekend knocked them out of Pac-12 South contention, while the Wildcats were dismantled by No. 8 Washington State.
Which team will rebound and finish the regular season on a high note? Here are a pair of predictions for the 92nd Territorial Cup game from the ABC15 sports team.
ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy
Three things to look for in this week’s game in Tucson:
1. Big-play running backs. ASU’s Eno Benjamin and UA’s JJ Taylor. Both could break open the game at any moment. The defense that can slow them down will have the advantage
2. Big-play receivers. UA’s Shawn Poindexter is a big-play, go-to guy for QB Khalil Tate, while ASU’s N’Keal Harry is one of the best receivers in the country.
3. Two solid quarterbacks. ASU’s Manny Wilkins is the savvy senior, looking to go out on a high note, while Khalil Tate can win a game with his arm or his legs.
This one should be an exciting edition of the Territorial Cup! I can’t wait for Saturday. ASU 42, Arizona 38
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
You can throw the records out. The team that wants it most will win this one. All of the clichés do actually seem to apply to this particular game.
So, I usually go with my gut feeling when picking the Territorial Cup winner, and then I throw in some statistical reasons to back up that pick. In this case, it's not a strong feeling, but my gut is leaning toward the Wildcats.
Here are some reasons to back that up. First, the team with the worst record has won three straight Territorial Cup games and six of the last eight. Also, the home team has won each of the last five games in this rivalry. And Arizona is 4-2 at home this season, while the Sun Devils are just 1-4 on the road.
ASU is a better, more well-rounded team, especially on defense. But the Wildcats are the more desperate group, needing a win simply to get to a bowl game and salvage a season that began with lofty expectations. Look for Khalil Tate, who has been reduced to a pocket passer most of the season, to have his best rushing game of the year and lead the Wildcats to the upset. Arizona 37, ASU 31