Duel in the Desert Recap: Sun Devils outclass Cats

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Junior sportswriter Carter Richey

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The Territorial Cup takes place once every year to settle the bitter rivalry between the University of Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State University Sun Devils. The rivalry dates all the way back to 1899, making the Territorial Cup trophy the oldest in college football history. This rivalry never fails to have its fireworks as Wildcat fans are still hurting from last year’s blown lead of nineteen points that lead to a comeback win by the Sun Devils. But this year’s first shots took place pregame when the whole Wildcat team tore up and cleated the Arizona State logo at midfield. This would set the tone for the remainder of the game and fueled both sidelines.

As both second-year head coaches, Herm Edwards of the Sun Devils and Kevin Sumlin of the Wildcats, look to leave the month of November in the win column, who would need to step up for both sidelines to become victorious? The Wildcats quarterback situation was uncertain all the way up until game time, so the need for freshman wideout Jamarye Joiner to play a pivotal role in the Wildcats passing game would need to be on point in Saturday’s game.

The Sun Devils looked to lean on junior running back Eno Benjamin, as he is consistently a force in the running game for offensive coordinator Rob Likins.

With the Wildcats coming into the game 4-7 and already out of bowl game contention, they were a team with nothing to lose and wanted the trophy back in Tucson. The Sun Devils carried a 6-5 record into Saturday’s affair with a schedule filled with big wins and disappointing losses.

After a low scoring game, Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils came out victorious for the second straight year winning 24-14. As Arizona State improved its overall season record to 7-5, the Wildcats season only got worse as they suffered their eighth loss and for the second straight year losing the Territorial Cup.

The game was mostly dominated by the Sun Devil defense and solid play from recently announced Pac-12 defensive player of the week Jack Jones who had two interceptions, six tackles, and his first-ever territorial cup victory. Standouts for both offenses were junior running back Eno Benjamin, who carried for over 160 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Wildcat wideout Jamarye Joiner lead the charge for the Cats with seven receptions for 140 receiving yards and two touchdown grabs.

As the Devils celebrated and the Wildcats took the loss back to Tucson with them, both teams have similar paths ahead of them as both coaching staffs will be hitting the road for in-home visits and big recruiting trips this week. Both staffs will look to finish out there 2020 recruiting classes as strong a possible.

The Sun Devils will soon start getting ready for an upcoming bowl game, and after the firing of offensive coordinator Rob Likens, Wide receiver coach Charlie Fisher and Tight Ends coach Donnie Yantis. They will be a little understaffed until Edwards chooses his next few assistants on the offensive side of the ball.