SportsSports Blogs Local


Territorial Cup 2014: Wildcats defeat Sun Devils 42-35

Posted at 3:57 PM, Nov 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-29 13:18:52-05

Nick Wilson ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns and No. 12 Arizona claimed the Pac-12 South title by holding on for a 42-35 victory over No. 13 Arizona State on Friday.

Arizona (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12, CFP No. 11) needed to beat its biggest rival and have Stanford knock off No. 9 UCLA to win the Pac-12 South.

The Cardinal took care of the first part by rolling over the Bruins. The Wildcats handled their end with a stream of big plays and a final defensive stand.

Arizona moves on to face No. 3 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game, Dec. 5 at Levi's Stadium in the Bay Area.

RELATED: 5 key observations from the game

Arizona State (9-3, 6-3, CFP No. 13) got a spark by replacing Taylor Kelly with Mike Bercovici, but a final drive stalled at Arizona's 40-yard line.Anu Solomon threw for 208 yards and hit Samajie Grant on a pair of touchdown passes for Arizona.

Bercovici threw for a pair of touchdowns, but had a key interception that led to a score.

The latest Duel in the Desert for the Territorial Cup was arguably the most anticipated in the rivalry's 88-game history.

The usual bragging rights were there, of course. A shot at the Pac-12 South for both teams added to it.

That was going to depend on whether Stanford beat UCLA in a game going on at the same time.

But that part would have to wait; Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez didn't want the score shown in Arizona Stadium and Arizona State's coaches didn't want any updates, either.

The focus was on each other, nothing else.

And the game lived up to the hype, the big plays coming right out of the gate.

Arizona scored 44 seconds in on Anthony Lopez's 25-yard fumble recovery after Scooby Wright sacked and stripped Kelly.

Arizona State failed on four tries inside Arizona's 3, but scored four plays later when Solomon bobbled a snap, couldn't cover it up and Demetrius Cherry rumbled in for a 2-yard score.

Two of the nation's best offenses, two defensive touchdowns to start -- of course.

More big plays followed, on offense instead.

Solomon found Samajie Grant, who made a couple of jukes and a cutback for a 69-yard touchdown.

Jalen Strong, as he usually does, answered spectacularly: laying out for a 50-yard reception, nonchalantly snaring a 3-yard touchdown with his left hand to tie the game at 14-all.

Wilson put Arizona back up on a 21-yard run on fourth-and-short.

A muffed punt by Devonte Neal gave Arizona State the ball at the Wildcats' 12-yard line, setting up a 7-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to Demario Richard.

Wilson gave Arizona a little breathing room in the third quarter, scoring on 1-yard dive and a 72-yard burst up the middle to put the Wildcats up 35-21.

Arizona State rallied after replacing Kelly with Bercovici late in the third quarter.

Bercovici hit tight end Kody Kohl on a 2-yard TD pass early in the fourth, but tried to squeeze a pass in between three defenders on the next drive and was picked off by Jourdan Grandon at ASU's 21.

Two plays later, Solomon rolled right and found Grant on a 20-yard touchdown pass, pushing the lead back to two touchdowns.

Bercovici found De'Marieya Nelson for a 9-yard touchdown and Arizona State got the ball back with less than 3 minutes left, but turned it over on downs when Bercovici threw an incompletion.