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Arizona State takes the Territorial Cup

Sun Devils score 20 points in the fourth quarter to win a crazy game

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s rivalry week in college football. When it comes to this particular week in college football you can expect the unexpected and plenty of trash talk. Arizona and Arizona State took to the field on Saturday afternoon in the 2018 edition of the Territorial Cup.

Even before the kickoff happened there were some tempers flaring between the two schools. Players from both sides were talking trash to one another and reportedly an Arizona defensive coach got in on the action. The police had to be put at the 50 yard line, so that the two teams would not get into any other altercations.

Expect weird things to happen in rivalry games.

Hold that thought.

However, once the game got going it was apparent that the Arizona Wildcats were ready to play. The Cats drew blood first with a 29 yard field goal and lead 3-0.

The Wildcats seemed to be playing with more passion. The Cats were quicker to the ball on defense and running with more purpose. Having the home crowd on their side did not hurt either. Arizona was feeding off of the crowd.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State was stuck in idle at the beginning of the game. The sense of urgency was not there. The Sun Devil defense allowed Khalil Tate and the Wildcat offense to jump out to a 10-0 lead.

It was only after Sun Devil quarterback, Manny Wilkins, connected with wideout Brandon Aiyuk on a 58 yard touchdown that the Sun Devils appeared to have a pulse. That touchdown made it 10-7.

The next couple of possessions for Arizona extended the lead to 19-7.

Arizona State needed to get some kind of momentum going into halftime. The Sun Devils got some of that momentum back with an Eno Benjamin 10 yard rushing touchdown. That made the score 19-14.

Could Arizona get something positive going into the halftime?


At the halftime break, the Wildcats got a 36 yard field goal from Josh Pollack to make it 22-14.

It was a one possession game.

If the Sun Devils got something going on their first possession of the second half they could turn their fortunes around.

It didn’t happen.

Arizona got a safety and a field goal to push the score to 27-14 in the third quarter. Momentum was on the side of the Wildcats. When Arizona punched the ball in for two more touchdowns it looked like the ball game might be out of reach for the Sun Devils. The score was 40-21 at the end of the third quarter.

However, this is the Pac-12.

You can still be in the game down by three scores.

Arizona State kicked a field goal to make it 40-24 and a two score game. The Sun Devils would need a ton of breaks to pull off the comeback.

The Sun Devils would get those breaks.

An interception and a fumble by the Wildcats would give the Sun Devils more possessions deep in Arizona territory.

With 4:32 left in the game, the Sun Devils get the interception and trim the lead to 40-32.

All of sudden, the feeling inside Arizona Stadium went from feeling like victory was certain to “hold on a minute”.

When Arizona State added a field goal by Brandon Ruiz with 3:33 left the Wildcat lead was cut to five points at 40-35. Momentum was squarely with the Devils.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After the Sun Devils get the ball back on a turnover, Eno Benjamin runs the ball in on a beautiful 22 yard run and the miraculous comeback by the Sun Devils was complete. The Devils took the lead for the first time at 41-40.

Arizona had one last gasp, but the field goal attempt with 17 seconds left goes wide right.

The celebration for Arizona State was on. The players took the Territorial Cup Trophy and ran around the field with it. You could hear the chants of “ASU, ASU, ASU” ring through out the stadium.

Just remember Sun Devil fans, you play to win the game. You won and to the victor go the spoils.