Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Football to Host Sun Devils For the Duel in the Desert
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: November 21, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Opponent: Arizona State

Kickoff: 4 p.m.

Site: Arizona Stadium (56,002) - Tucson, Ariz.

TV: FSN (Barry Tompkins, Petros Papadakis)

Radio: 1290 AM (Brian Jeffries, Lamont Lovett)


Oregon and Arizona Historical Fast Facts

First Meeting: 1899 (Arizona State 11 - Arizona 2 in Tucson)

Last Meeting: 2005 (Arizona State 23 - Arizona 20 in Tempe)

All-Time Series Record: Arizona leads 44-34-1

Current Streak: Arizona State won the last meeting

Notes on the Series: Arizona and Arizona State will be meeting for the 80th time in a rivalry that dates back to 1899 ... Up for grabs is the Territorial Cup (more on that later) ... Since 1993-95 when the Wildcats won three in a row, neither school has been able to win more than back-to-back games ... ASU, which won 23-20 in Tempe last year, has won three of the last four ... Arizona’s longest winning streak in the all-time series is 11 straight from 1932 to 1948 ... Arizona State’s longest winning streak is nine straight from 1965 through 1973 ... Arizona’s largest margin of victory was a 67-0 whitewashing of the Sun Devils in 1946 ... Arizona State’s largest margin of victory is 47 points accomplished twice (61-14 in 1951 and 47-0 in 1958) ... The average margin of victory in the all-time series is 17.1 points, however three of the last five games have been decided by a touchdown or less.


The Territorial Cup

In summer 2001, officials at Arizona and Arizona State received NCAA Division I-A designation for the 1899 Territorial Cup as the oldest trophy for a rivalry game in America. The annual Arizona-Arizona State winner obtains possession of the Cup for its hall of fame, a replica goes to the winning school’s president’s office, and two later trophies used over the years in the hard-fought rivalry are awarded to the winning coach and the Most Valuable Player. History: On Thanksgiving Day in 1899, then Arizona Territorial Normal School defeated Arizona 11-2 in front of a reported 300 fans, and the Cup had its first curator. But over the years, the silver-plated antique prize was misplaced and supplanted by various other awards for the Big Game ?- the Governor’s Trophy (1953-1979), a ?'Victory” sculpture by artist Ben Goo, and a Saguaro Trophy, among others. To ensure the safety of the original trophy, the actual Territorial Cup will be moved from one school to the other only under escort and the supervision of gloved archivists. The Ben Goo Trophy, awarded from 1979 to 1998 as the game trophy, has become the Big Game Most Valuable Player award. The Saguaro Trophy, a smaller bronze piece commissioned from artist Dora Perry in 1998, is presented and kept each year by the winning coach.


Some Game Themes...

Yet another intriguing chapter in the heated series... Two 6-5 teams in need of a victory to solidify hopes of some later holiday action out of state... Arizona seeks a punctuation mark to a whirlwind month of action that turned its season around... The Cats put their three-game winning streak on the line while ASU can even its November slate for a stronger finish... A victory would give the Cats a shot at a potential tie for third or a fourth-place finish in the Pac-10, its best since 1998... ASU works for redemption after a couple of November losses took the gloss off a once-ranked club... Whatever. You can look at all the permutations and arrive at nothing as significant as the main theme: It's Arizona-Arizona State, the nation's oldest trophy game with the Territorial Cup at stake. The prize is a year's worth of pride... The emotional import put aside, on paper the game features two stingy defensive units, two teams adept at the return game and kicking, some runners previously unheard from in the rivalry, and quarterbacking questions (Will UA's top guy start and finish? Does it matter? Will ASU's repeat the heat it brought to the Big Game last year?), and protecting those guys should be a factor, as both teams haven't exactly done it... The game features two clubs with winning records for the first time since Desert Swarm and the other Danny White squared off in 1993 against a young Jake the Snake and Super Mario in Tempe.


Last Week

Arizona put its full game together for the third successive week and dominated the once lofty Ducks of Oregon, 37-10, before a stunned crowd of 58,029 in Autzen Stadium. The Cats ended UO's eight-game home winning streak and put an end to their own 19-year angst in the Emerald Empire. UA came out and scored early and often, and shut out the Ducks for the final 43 minutes of the game. Oregon had some verve after receiving the opening kickoff, driving 70 yards in 15 plays, but UA's tone was evident with a goal-line stand that saw 1st-and-goal from the 8 yard-line end with a Duck field goal. The Cats took the lead five minutes later after their first of six takeaways -- one of two mishandled punts Spencer Larsen (and later Dominic Patrick) recovered -- with a Chris Henry 15-yard run, and UA did not look back. Henry finished with a superb 191 yards rushing, and scored three times. UA's QB starter Willie Tuitama, who left the game in the second quarter after a hard tackle, posted a phenomenal 274.22 pass efficiency rating with eight completions in nine attempts for 120 yards and two scores -- one a striking cross-field catch-run by Henry and the other a wide-open 37-yard catch by tight end Earl Mitchell. Tui's replacement, Adam Austin, did swell in relief, leading the club on four scoring drives and helping UA amass a 13-minute edge in time of possession. UA scored in every quarter for only the second game of the year, thanks to Nick Folk's third of three field goals, a 45-yard split-them in the final stanza. The Cats won a third straight game for the first time in five years. Defensively, UA halted what had entered the game as the nation's No. 12 scoring unit, held the nation's No. 5 offensive unit to 100 yards under its average and minus two long runs (44 and 33 by Jeremiah Johnson) held the nation's No. 11 rushing unit to little-impact total of 86 yards otherwise. Redshirt freshman strong safety Michael Klyce had two interceptions and six tackles in his first career start. Linebacker Spencer Larsen shined, with 10 tackles (one for loss), the fumbled punt recovery, a pass breakup and an interception. LB Ronnie Palmer gathered in the fourth interception. UA scored 23 points off the six turnovers, averaged 6.2 yards per play rushing 45 times (230 net yards) and passing a modest 14 times), and made it apparent the 2006 year should represent a dramatic turnaround for Arizona football.


Oregon Quick Hits

Arizona won in Autzen Stadium for the first time since 1986 ... The Cats held the Ducks scoreless in the second half, marking the fourth time UA has blanked an opponent in the final 30 minutes of play (Stephen F. Austin, Washington, Stanford and Oregon) ... The Wildcats posted a season-high 37 points in the win ... For the second straight contest Arizona did not turn over the ball, while forcing the Ducks into a season-high six (four interceptions, two fumbles) ... The four interceptions by the Cats was a season-high ... Arizona attempted only 14 passes in the game, one off of the game-low this year (13 at Stanford) ... Chris Henry established career-highs in TDs (3), rushing yards (191) and his longest rush (61 yards) ... Henry’s 61-yard TD run in the third quarter was UA’s longest rush of the season, eclipsing his broken-play 54-yarder against BYU in the season-opener ... SS Michael Klyce took advantage of his first career start and picked off his first two passes while finishing  with six tackles on the day ... Willie Tuitama completed 8 of 9 pass attempts and threw two TD passes before being lifted for precautionary reasons ... Tuitama’s two scoring passes equalled his career-best ... H-Back Earl Mitchell caught his first career TD pass, a 37-yard strike from Tuitama to end the first quarter ... Terrell Turner hauled in his first career pass, a seven-yarder from Adam Austin ... Syndric Steptoe, who had to leave the game early in the first quarter with an injury, saw his 27-game streak with at least one reception come to an end ... LB Spencer Larsen recorded his first career interception ... LB Ronnie Palmer picked off a pass for a second-straight game ... FS Dominic Patrick returned from a one-game hiatus and finished with seven tackles and a fumble recovery ... WR Mike Thomas filled in for an injured Steptoe on kick returns and recorded a career-high 31-yard KOR ... Nick Folk kicked three field goals in the game to match his career-best.


A Quick Look at Arizona State

The Sun Devils head south for the 80th meeting in the annual Duel in the Desert with a 6-5 overall record and a 3-5 mark in league play ... ASU most recently dropped a 24-12 decision to UCLA in Tempe last weekend ... Offensively, the Devils enter the week ranked 47th nationally and fourth in the Pac-10 in total offense (359.6 yards per game) ... They average 162.8 yards per game on the ground (36th, 2nd) and 196.7 yards per game through the air (65th, 7th) ... QB Rudy Carpenter average 192.5 yards passing per game and has thrown 18 TD passes, but has been picked off 13 times as well ... RB Ryan Torain paces the Devils on the ground with an average of 84.5 yards per game, a figure that ranks 33rd nationally and third in the Pac-10 ... Defensively, ASU is allowing an average 310.4 yards per game which ranks them 41st nationally and fifth in the conference ... The Devils are surrendering 124.2 yards rushing (46th, 6th) and 186.2 yards passing (40th, 3rd) per game ... Safety Josh Barrett is the leading hit man for ASU, with 63 total tackles on the year ... Head coach Dirk Koetter is in his sixth season as the top man in Tempe and he has put together a 39-33 record heading into the ASU game.


It’s All About 20

When the Cats score 20 or more points this season they are a perfect 5-0, when giving up 20 or less to the opposition they are 5-2.


Turning It Around

The Wildcats have put together a nice three-game winning streak that has made a lot of casual observers take note. However, one can point to UA’s 20-7 victory over Stanford as a launching point for the Cats recent success.

The First Six vs. the Last Five

Stats First Six Games Last Five Games Difference
Record 2-4 4-1
Points Per Game 11.2 23.6 12.4
Opponent Points Per Game 22.7 14.2 -8.5
Second Half Scoring 37 51 14
Opponent Second Half Scoring 57 13 -44
Rushing Yards Per Game 54.8 129.6 74.8
Opponent Rushing Yards Per Game 127 91.8 -35.2
Total Offense 248.2 275.4 27.2
Interceptions Thrown 8 4 -4
Opponent Interceptions Thrown 3 9 6
Fumbles Lost 3 2 -1
Opponent Fumbles Lost 6 6 0
Time of Possession 29:04 34:29 +5:25
Opponent Time of Possession 30:56 25:31 -5:25
Field Goals 6 for 11 (55%) 9 for 9 (100%)
Redzone Scoring 10 of 15 (67%) 12 of 13 (92%)


Doing the Streak

Arizona’s three-game winning streak, which is tied with Pac-10-leader USC for the longest active streak in the conference, is its first since 2001 when the Cats opened the year 3-0. The three straight conference victories are the first since 2000 when UA opened the year with consecutive Pac-10 wins over Stanford, No. 22 USC and Washington State. Here’s a look at some of the numbers during the current streak.

Stat Arizona Opposition
Points per game 29.3 15.7
Rushing yards per game 135.3 104.7
Interceptions thrown 1 7
Fumbles lost 1 4
Turnover margin 9 -9
Time of possession 34:58 25:02
Redzone scores 8 for 8 5 for 7
Touchdowns scored 10 5
Second half points 41 10
Field Goals 6 for 6 4 for 4
3rd down conversions 36% 31%
4th down conversions 100% 0%


Making it Sting

It is one thing to cause turnovers, it is a whole another thing to make the opposition feel the burn. The Cats, who lead the Pac-10 in turnover margin at +0.64, are doing just that. In UA’s last five games it has racked up 43 points off of turnovers.

Opponent Turnover Points Score
Stanford Fumble 7 Chris Henry 18-yard TD rush
Washington St. Fumble 3 Nick Folk 48-yard FG
Cal Interception 3 Nick Folk 39-yard FG
Cal Interception 7 Antoine Cason 39-yard pick six
Oregon Fumble  7 Chris Henry 15-yard TD rush
Oregon  Interception 7 Chris Henry 21-yard TD reception
Oregon Interception 3 Nick Folk 29-yard FG
Oregon Fumble 3 Nick Folk 28-yard FG
Oregon Interception 3 Nick Folk 45-yard FG
Totals 4 FR, 5 INT 43 2 rush TDs, 1 pass TD, 1 INT TD, 5 FG


Location, Location, Location

Over the last five games, the Wildcats have pretty much dominated the field position game. Since tying with UCLA on Oct. 7 for the average starting point of drives (Own 28), Arizona has had a better jumping off point in the last five contests. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that the less distance you have to go, the easier it is to score.

Opponent UA Start Opponent Start Diff Result
Stanford Own 36 Own 23 13 yds W, 20-7
Oregon State Own 35 Own 26 9 yds L, 17-10
Washington State Own 39 Own 28 11 yds W, 27-17
Cal Own 32 Own 20 12 yds W, 24-20
Oregon Own 44 Own 26 18 yds W, 37-10



The Wildcats have moved up to the No. 2 slot in the Pac-10 in time of possession with a game-average of 31:32. Arizona has controlled the clock in seven of its 11 games thus far and is 5-2 when doing so.

Time of Possession

Opponent, Result UA TOP Opponent TOP TOP Margin
BYU, W 28:22 31:38 -3:16
LSU, L 30:08 29:52 +0:16
SFA, W 32:48 27:12 +5:36
USC, L 21:13 38:47 -17:34
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