The Arizona Wildcats seemed to have the Territorial Cup in hand, then suddenly handed it over to the Arizona State Sun Devils.
1. The Arizona Wildcats only have themselves to blame.
They were in control of this game. They had rolled off three straight scores. They put up a ten point lead in the third quarter. The offense had been rolling most of the third quarter and there were no signs of slowing down in the fourth.
Three mistakes later, they ceded it away. A bizarre fumble, a blocked punt, and an interception all went into Arizona State's hands, and it was all over.
Sometimes football is a game of the trenches, or the quarterbacks, and occasionally the coaches. But most of the time it's just the team that screws up the least. And Arizona gaffed their Territorial Cup.
The loss brings a damper to what should have, could have, might have been a stellar season. The Stanford loss, the Oregon State loss and the showing against the Sun Devils on Friday all represented how close Arizona was, with just one more win, might've been a storybook season.
Luckily, a senior class led by Scott and an injured Dan Buckner can salvage the disappointment with a bowl game on the horizon.
3. If you had to characterize how the Arizona State Sun Devils finished 2012, "pedestrian" will have to work.
This team looked like they were in serious trouble when they gave up 18 points in a row and seemed on the verge of getting spread and shred. They called all six timeouts on defense and looked like they could get the clock ground out on them. But then Arizona went derp derp derp and the Cup landed in their lap.
Arizona State does finish the season with two straight wins, does ensure a winning season, and will have a good shot at eight wins depending on where they play for bowl season.
4. Key stats from Brad Denny at House of Sparky.
6 - First downs by penalty for Arizona. In the first half, it seemed the Sun Devils were reverting to their 2011 form. That included a personal foul on Brandon Magee that negated what would have been Osahon Irabor's second interception of the night.
86 - Penalty yards by ASU. The Sun Devils were plagued by penalties in the first half, resulting in several damaging outcomes.
The changing of the guard is official; Marion Grice is the premier back at Arizona State. After a season-long debate over who deserves to take the lion's share of the carries, Grice left no doubt with a gritty 18 carry 156-yard performance in which he found the end zone three separate times. The passing game did just enough to put the Sun Devils in position to win this game, but Grice sent the Sun Devils over the top. Cameron Marshall came into the season as the lead back, and scored late to give the Sun Devils a 34-27 lead that they would never relinquish. The Sun Devils have been waiting for a dominating performance from a running back, and Grice's night will be looked back on as the best outing by an Arizona State back all season.
5. Cody Ulm of SB Nation Arizona talks more about how exciting the Territorial Cup always seems to be.
But we're not here today to make knee-jerk reactions about the historic context of Friday's game. I've called you all here today to revel in the glory of what's always been one of the most underrated rivalry games in all of sports. Even though the rest of the nation shows it nearly no love, the Territorial Cup still continues its tendency of churning out unpredictability and hysteria on a year-to-year basis.
Need proof? Well try this on for size: seven of the past nine contests have been determined by one score or less while eight of the past thirteen have gone the way of the road team. In other words, utter madness. And with the way these programs are slowly coming together, I'd guess that it's only going to get more intense from here as the stakes rise.
6. Also from SBN Arizona, Jess Root says Todd Graham has the Sun Devisl moving the right way.
The game on Saturday was sort of a microcosm of the team's transformation.
They fell behind, getting penalized several times. Then they battled back, cleaned up their play and were mentally tough.
The previous ASU team would have fallen behind, given one good push and then given up.
That is where things are changing. ASU is getting smaller victories. They are winning recruits here locally. They are playing more disciplined football. They are beginning to win on the road and they are winning the rivalry game.
7. Video highlights
8. Arizona's team felt the need to dance mid-game.
9. Here's the Territorial Cup locker room celebration for Arizona State fans.
10. Bowl picture.
Kraft Fight Hunger, New Mexico and Independence bowl officials here. Sun Bowl in play for UA, with Washington loss, but win = Vegas?— Anthony Gimino (@AGWildcatReport) November 24, 2012
Dan Hanneke, executive director for the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, said Saturday that he'll have a conference call Sunday to start discussing bowl matchups. "And Arizona State, they going to be in the conversation," Hanneke said. "Before (Friday), I don't know if they were."
11. Tweet of the game.
Red death uniforms are killer, Arizona. But they'd be better with Ultimate Warrior tassels. (Note: every uniform would be better w/ them.)— edsbs (@edsbs) November 24, 2012
12. Photo of the night.
This picture says all you need to know about the fourth quarter tonight... twitter.com/TylerEmerick/s…— Tyler Emerick (@TylerEmerick) November 24, 2012