Nov. 14, 2011
The Territorial Cup
Arizona at Arizona State
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Live Audio
Date: Nov. 19 Time: 7:30 p.m. (MST)
Location: Tempe, Ariz. (Sun Devil Stadium -- 71,706)
Television Broadcast: Fox Sports Arizona
TV Commentators: Tom Leander (pxp), Adam Archuleta (analyst), John Fina (analyst)
UA Radio: Arizona Radio Network, 1290 AM Tucson
UA Radio Broadcasters: Brian Jeffries (pxp), Lamont Lovett (color analyst), Dana Cooper (sideline analyst)
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 139, XM 195 (ASU radio broadcast)
Arizona -Arizona State Series History
All-Time Series: Arizona leads, 46-37-1
First Meeting: Nov. 30, 1899 (ASU 11, Arizona 2 at Tucson)
Last Meeting: Dec. 2, 201 (ASU 30, Arizona 29 in OT at Tucson)
Streak: UA won two straight prior to 2010 meeting. ASU won three straight from 2005-07.
Some Game Themes
The nation's oldest rivalry trophy game (as recognized by the NCAA) with the Territorial Cup on the line. The association recognizes the teams' initial meeting in 1899 as the first trophy contest... It's Wildcats vs. Sun Devils, another chapter in a rousing intra-state series...Arizona fights to snap a three-game losing streak, while the Sun Devils try to halt a two-game skid... UA works for a second league victory to avoid matching historical lows (1-7) by the 2002 and 2003 clubs... A loss would also put Arizona in the unenviable situation of the 12th-best league record in the new Pac-12... ASU, bowl eligible, needs a victory to cement its chances for a co-Pac-12 South title and a crack at the Pac-12 Championship Game Dec. 2... Arizona can have some tie-breaker influence in the league divisional title chase with a victory... A match of teams with yard-producing passing games led by UA's Nick Foles and ASU's Brock Osweiler... The Cats try to put some special in their kicking units against a club that's nationally a top 20 squad in kick returns... Based on recent games of 500 yards allowed by each team, defense doesn't appear high on the forecast... ASU opens a two-game homestand at Sun Devil Stadium, where it's 5-0 in 2011... Look for some yellow -- the teams are near the very bottom of the FBS in penalties and penalty yardage... The Nov. 19 date for this game marks the earliest date on the calendar for which the schools have met since 1956.
Arizona closed its road schedule in Boulder against Colorado and left with pie on its face after a 48-29 loss. The Buffaloes, struck first with an 80-yard drive keyed by a 39-yard pass from Tyler Hansen, and never trailed. UA responded with a drive for a John Bonano field goal, but CU again took the ball 80 yards to push the lead to 14-3. UA trimmed it to a three-point game with a 65-yard drive keyed by a Ka'Deem Carey 27-yard run, but two possessions later the Buffs took advantage of superior field position (UA 28 yard-line) when Wildcat punter Kyle Dugandzic was called for a knee down while picking up a low snap, and punched it in in three plays for 20-10 lead at the break. After two CU scoring drives in the third quarter, UA linebacker Tra'Mayne Bondurant's pick-six (29 yards) got UA back on the board, and another Nick Foles-driven drive made it look interesting in pulling UA to within a pari of scores, 34-23. But Colorado marched 80 yards in reply to put the game out of reach. The Cats picked up another score, and so did the Buffaloes, notching the most points they'd scored since 2007. CU running back Rodney Stewart finished with 181 yards and three TDs on 24 totes to spearhead a 273-yard rushing effort by the Buffaloes, who also picked up 213 passing yards from Hansen (and 2 scoring throws). CU was 7-for-7 on TDs in the red zone. Foles passed for 352 yards to become the Arizona all-time passing leader with 9,289 yards, but suffered three interceptions in some one-dimensionality by UA, which only rushed for 60 net yards. The loss dropped UA to sixth place in the Pac-12 South at 1-7,, a half-game behind Colorado.
Arizona - Tim Kish (Otterbein '76), interim head coach (1-3)... This is Kish's first assignment as a head coach. The 36-year veteran of the college ranks has coached at Pac-12, Big Ten (Illinois, Northwestern), the Ohio prep ranks, Mid-American Conference schools (Ball State, Bowling Green State, Ohio) and a service academy (Army). He has been on Mike Stoops' Arizona staff as linebackers coach each of the latter's eight years in Tucson, the last two as co- or defensive coordinator. Kish played college ball as a DB at Otterbein, and later earned a master's degree from Bowling Green. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Mariemont High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1976. He has been on the defensive side of the ball all but one year in his college career, the 1982 season as QBs coach at Ball State. He and his wife, Angela, have two daughters and a son. His eldest, Megan, is a student at Ohio State. Arizona State - Dennis Erickson (Montana State '70) fifth year at ASU (31-28) and 24th year overall (178-93-1) as a head coach. Erickson has been Pac-10 Coach of the Year at ASU, Oregon State and Washington State, and won two national championships at Miami. He is 9-4 against Arizona with a 3-2 mark while at ASU. His first of seven head coaching stints began at Idaho in 1971.
The Territorial Cup
The Territorial Championship Cup was first presented to Tempe Normal School after its 11-2 victory over Arizona at Tucson's Carrillo Gardens field downtown on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 30, 1899. That makes it the oldest rivalry trophy game in America. (Comparisons: Michigan-Minnesota/Little Brown Jug/1909; Indiana-Purdue/Old Oaken Bucket/1925). Carrillo Gardens was in a downtown park on a side street south of the current Tucson Convention Center in the Barrio Historico district. The Cup has been registered with the NCAA and thereby sanctions the game as the oldest trophy game. Early origins of the piece are unclear but the cup itself is silver-plated over base metal and was manufactured by Reed and Barton of Taunton, Mass., according to some reports, which also indicate a catalog price of $20. The lone inscription reads: "Arizona Foot Ball League 1899 Normal." The Cup's whereabouts for the next eight decades also remains unclear until its discovery among items found in the baseman of a church near ASU in the early 1980s. and then displayed in various ASU collections. In 2001, then ASU President Lattie Coor led the move to have it again presented to the game winner. Over the years the Governor's Trophy (1953-1979) and a "Victory" sculpture by artist Ben Goo (1979-1997) were presented to the game's winner. The Saguaro Trophy, a bronze piece commissioned from artist Dora Perry in 1998, also has been in the mix, and now goes to the winning coach each year. The Bob Moran Most Outstanding Player in the game, named in 2008 after the late sportswriter who covered both teams, earns the Ben Goo sculpture for his school's hall of fame. The Cup on the sideline at the game itself is a replica, with the original piece requiring curator treatment for its hall of fame type display. The games themselves are not atypical of a state where the Territorial Legislature awarded one city (Phoenix) the initial economic prize, the state hospital, while the other town (Tucson) got the fledgling first state university. The games are competitive, territorial and a distinct matter of pride.
State Farm Territorial Cup Series
Two years ago the insurance corporation sponsored the Territorial Cup Series, which counts all head-to-head sporting events between the schools (or, league-championships competition finishes), and the Territorial Cup football game is a component. Arizona took SFTCS titles in men's and women's cross country earlier this month, ASU earned the women's soccer point, and the schools' women's volleyball teams square off in Tucson Nov. 22 and in Tempe Nov. 26 for the next SFTCS competition. The University of Arizona won the 2009-10 and 2010-11 State Farm Territorial Cup Series by overall scores of 10.5 to 7.5 and 11.5 to 6.5, respectively. Eighteen sports are part of the computation.
Arizona will close its regular season against a team (Louisiana) other than Arizona State for the second time in three years, with a USC tilt in Los Angeles at the end of the 2009 year. Before that, you have to go back to 1986 when UA played a pseudo-bowl game (Coca Cola Bowl) against Stanford in Tokyo, Japan, to close the regular season. Before that, Hawaii in a gift-wrapped 12th game in early December 1977. Before that, New Mexico closed the regular season in 1963. Before that, college football was a different animal and in 20 years from 1948 to 1958 UA closed the season against Marquette, Kansas, Iowa State, Hawaii, Texas Tech, Wyoming, and Colorado along with a few ASU games as the regular-season finale. This year's contest falls on Nov. 19, which is the earliest date for a game in the series since 1956 when the schools played on Nov. 17.
Last week, Nick Foles became Arizona's all-time passing leader as he moved past Willie Tuitama on the career yardage chart (9,289). The senior from Austin, Texas, also has school records for completions (865), pass attempts (1,301) and total offense (8,995). Foles has passed for at least 200 yards in 15 straight games played. In fact, he's done so in 20 of the last 21 contests he has played for the Wildcats. That streak could be longer if not for a second quarter knee injury at Washington State a year ago, which is the only time in the last two seasons that he has failed to reach 200 passing yards. Currently, Foles is averaging a Pac-12 best 361.2 yards per game, a figure that is No. 4 in the nation for FBS players. Foles' per game clip is currently ahead of the Pac-12 record, set by Washington's Cody Pickett in 2002 (342.9). Foles' 31.9 completions per game on the season are tied with Texas Tech's Seth Doege for the top mark in all of FBS.
Foles vs the Forks
UA senior QB Nick Foles will play his third career game against ASU. He was the winning QB of record in 2009 and the losing QB of record last year. He's completed 46 passes in 79 attempts (.582) for 410 yards, no interceptions and three TDs (all last year). A couple of other Cats have some multiple-game offensive numbers against ASU. Keola Antolin has rushed 25 times for 83 yards in three ASU games, Juron Criner has nine receptions for 107 yards in two games and David Roberts has nine catches for 64 yards in two games. Kicker Alex Zendejas, since knocked out of his job by John Bonano, has kicked three field goals (four attempts) in a pair of games, and hit four extra points. His two missed (blocked) PATs a year ago -- one at the end of regulation and one on the final play of double overtime -- were a big factor.
Take It To The House
Arizona's defense has forced just 12 turnovers this season, but it has made the most of them. Of the Wildcats nine interceptions this year, three have been taken back for touchdowns. That ranks tied for fourth nationally, trailing, among others, next week's opponent Louisiana-Lafayette, which has six to lead all FBS teams. Interestingly, all three pick-sixes have occurred on the road. Shaquille Richardson, who leads the Wildcats with three interceptions, recorded a 28-yard interception return for a score at Oregon State on Oct. 8. Robert Golden then made perhaps the play of the year for the Wildcats with a 91-yard interception return for a score at Washington on Oct. 29. Last week, true freshman Tra'Mayne Bondurant recorded his first career interception and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Senior Trevin Wade has two career touchdowns on interception returns, and Golden also had one other in his sophomore season. That gives the UA defense six career scores on interceptions.
Arizona has trotted out 23 regular contributors who are either true freshmen (10) or redshirt freshmen (13) this season, including five different true freshmen that have started on UA's defense. The Cats have used DT Sani Fuimaono (started), LBs Rob Hankins and Hank Hobson (each with starts), DBs Tramayne Bondurant (four starts) and Cortez Johnson (two starts) on defense. Other key true freshmen contributors include RB Ka'Deem Carey, DE Reggie Gilbert, TE Michael Cooper, WR Trevor Ermisch (special teams) and Josh Elias (snapper). Arizona also has played 13 redshirt freshmen -- OT Mickey Baucus (starter), OT Fabbians Ebelle (starter), DT Aiulua Fanene, safety/nickel back Jourdon Grandon (formation starts), defensive back Blake Brady (special teams) receiver Austin Hill (has started), OG Carter Lees (has started), DE Dan Pettinato, WR Tyler Slavin, OT Trent Spurgeon, DT Kirifi Taula (has started), and receiver Garic Wharton (KOR starts.).
Passing the Baton
Barring unforeseen circumstances the UA-ASU game will provide a glimpse of the Arizona running back of the future even as senior Keola Antolin departs. Antolin, the 10-game starter this year with 22 career starts in 48 games played as a Wildcat, heads into his final two games with 2,321 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. He's a durable darting runner with 472 career carries for an average of 4.9 yards per attempt. Meantime, in the wings is freshman Ka'Deem Carey, with 333 net yards on 78 carries (4.3) and a bright future before him. He's a slasher with speed and the power to run out of tackles. He has six TDs this year. His talent is evident. He and Daniel Jenkins, the nominal backup with 24 totes for 129 yards (5.4) could wage a nice battle for the top job in spring but most are giving a he's-the-guy nod to Carey.
Nick Foles has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 10 games this season and has a 15-game streak dating back to the end of the 2010 campaign. That 15-game stretch is a new individual school record, surpassing the previous standard set by Marc Reed (1966-67), who had 11 consecutive games with a passing touchdown over two seasons. Prior to Foles' 15-game stretch, Matt Scott had touchdown passes in consecutive games, filling in for then-injured Foles. The 17-game streak is also a new school record, besting the 16 games set bythe 1997-98 squads. The only game over the last two seasons in which the Wildcats have failed to record a passing touchdown was at Washington State last October, when Foles went down with an injury an Scott came on to guide the squad to a 24-7 victory.
Take Your Pick Actually, Nick Foles hopes it doesn't happen. He has 13 interceptions this year (in 466 attempts, .027 percent of his tosses) and with one more would hit the Arizona all-time Top 10 single-season picks-suffered chart where five players are tied for No. 9 with 14 apiece (Tom Tunnicliffe '82, Jim Krohn '79, Marc Reed '67, John Black '40 and Ted Bland '35). Tunnicliffe and Reed were on throwing offenses, but Foles' 466 are the second-most in UA history. Foles' 1,302 career pass attemps -- in three seasons -- are No. 1 overall as well, passing Willie Tuitama's 3+ years and 1,276 tosses last week. Foles' 32 career interceptions are well behind the record 56 pitched by Tunnicliffe (1980-83) and Alfred Jenkins' 38 (1983-86). Krohn was picked off 36 times in 513 career attempts running a veer-ish offense from 1976-79. Interestingly, Foles opened the season with a string of 193 pass attempts without an interception. Going back to last season, the stretch included 208 interception-free attempts, which set a school record and fell just eight tosses shy of matching the Pac-12 Conference record of 216 set by USC's Brad Otton (1994-95).
The Cats had 11 sacks in the last two UA-Arizona State games. This year they have eight total sacks through 10 games. Gone are ends Ricky Elmore (5 in two games), Brooks Reed (2) and Donald Horton (2), who combined for most of those. Sophomore DT Justin Washington had a pair in the ASU game a year ago. Pass pressure, or the lack of it, clearly has been an issue for Arizona this year. UA yong offensive line has given up 20, not bad for a unit with one career start (Kyle Quinn- Alamo Bowl) entering the season.
Points for, points against. A little barometer of success. Arizona is seventh in the league with 293 points scored, and 11th among Pac-12 teams by giving up 361 points. Only Colorado has allowed more points than Arizona (416 by the Buffaloes). In differential of PF-PFA, the Cats are 9th. Here's how the Pac-12's teams stack up in that category: Stanford +262; Oregon +250; Ariz State +104; USC +93; Utah +59; California +59; Wash State -3; Washington -25; Arizona -68; UCLA -81; Oregon State -97; Colorado -182.
Recording the Records
Arizona's 2-8 record makes for various historical scenarios. The Cats surely will record the worst record since Mike Stoops' second Arizona team checked in at 3-8 in 2005. The Cats' last losing record was Stoops' 5-7 mark in 2007, followed by three bowl years. John Mackovic's 2-10 team in 2003 was the program's only double-digit losses mark in its full football history. A 4-8 mark would match Mackovic's 2002 Wildcats. A 3-9 mark would be an Arizona first. The Cats only have lost eight or more games five times -- the 1-8-1 club of 1957 under Ed Doherty,the 2002 (4-8) and 2003 (2-10) under Mackovic, and Stoops' 3-8 teams in 2004 and 2005.
Arizona opened the season with just one offensive lineman that had started a game: Kyle Quinn, whose only start was in the 2010 Alamo Bowl. The Wildcats were one of six school's nationally that began the season without a senior on its starting offensive line. Now 10 games into the season, the Wildcats' offensive line has matured and helped pave the way for one of the league's top offensive units. Now the unit has 50 collective starts on the season, headlined by redshirt freshmen tackles Mickey Baucus and Fabbians Ebbele, and Quinn, a junior center, who have each started all 10 games this season. Junior guards Trace Biskin (eight starts) and Shane Zink (three starts), sophomore guard Chris Putton (seven starts), and redshirt freshman guard Carter Lees (two starts) have combined for the other 20 starts, with redshirt freshman tackle Trent Spurgeon getting plenty of meaningful work as a backup all season long. That's eight talented players that will return next season, and it goes without saying that line coach Robert Anae has been instrumental in the development of this group. Sure, the running game hasn't been as consistent as desired, but UA has spent much of the season playing from behind and needing to pass the ball in order to play catch-up.
Keep An Eye On...
- Juron Criner is one touchdown reception shy of tying Theopolis "T" Bell's school record of 30 scores set from 1972-74.
- Foles is five passing touchdowns shy of matching Willie Tuitama's school record of 67 career TDs.
- Foles' is five passing touchdowns shy of matching Tuitama's single-season record of 28 passing touchdowns.
- Keola Antolin (24) is one rushing touchdown short of tying Trung Canidate for No. 4 all-time in school history. Antolin is three TDs short of matching Ronald Veal's No. 3 mark of 27.
- Antolin needs 69 more rushing yards to surpass Jim Upchurch (1972-74) for No. 9 on the all-time rushing chart.
- Juron Criner is 12 points shy of tying for No. 9 on school's all-time scoring list.
- Trevin Wade is one interception shy of matching three players with 13 interceptions for the No. 7 spot on the school charts.
- Wade needs two more pass breakups to match Chris McAlister and Kelvin Hunter for No. 9 in school history (27 career PBUs).
Bonano On Target
Senior place kicker John Bonano, who took over the starting role just four games ago, has continued to bring a calming presence to the once inconsistent kicking game. Bonano has converted all 14 extra point kicks he has tried, after the Wildcats missed five of their first 18 tries. The Salinas, Calif., native is 6-for-7 on field goal tries, with his only miss coming on a 57-yard attempt last week at Colorado where a bad snap messed up the timing of the kick. All together, Bonano has scored 32 points for the Wildcats. Prior to taking over the place-kicking duties, Bonano was UA's kickoff specialist. Bonano is tied for ninth nationally with 21 touchbacks this season.
Two Good Ones
With the Wildcats officially not eligible for a bowl this year, it can definitively be stated that senior defensive backs Trevin Wade and Robert Golden are down to their final three games as Wildcats. Wade was an overlooked talent out of Round Rock, Texas, that earned a scholarship to play in the secondary under Mike and Mark Stoops despite being a "two-star" prospect by recruiting services and whatever skill, if any, they have in evaluation. Golden was a highly touted prospect out of Fresno, Calif., that played as a true freshman and has bounced from corner to safety to corner and back to safety in his days as a Wildcat. Golden has started 36 games and Wade has 35 to his credit (did not play at Colorado) in the defensive backfield and both are now senior team captains. Wade has 12 interceptions in his career, which ties for third-most actively in the nation and ranks No. 10 all-time at the school. Golden has four interceptions and four forced fumbles to his credit. Both have two interception returns for touchdowns and over 200 INT return yards each. With two games left, they can add to those numbers with a few more big plays.
One could make the case that true freshman Tra'Mayne Bondurant has been the team's defensive MVP since taking over a starting role four games ago against UCLA (Oct.20). Since then, Bondurant has registered 28 tackles, including three for loss, to go with a sack, two pass breakups and an interception. His 29-yard interception return for a touchdown was perhaps his best play, as his instincts allowed him to read the eyes of CU's quarterback and jump a quick hitch pattern over the middle. Sure, Bondurant has made some youthful mistakes, but his confidence and competitive nature make him a quick-learner and a guy who is ready to put the last play behind him and move on to the next.
Banged Up Defense
It started in spring practices and has continued each week throughout the season: Arizona's defense cannot shake the injury bug. Starters Adam Hall (safety) and Jake Fischer (linebacker) tore ACLs in spring practices and are out for the season. Defensive tackle Willie Mobley, projected to be in the two-deep rotation at the interior spots, later tore an ACL in a non-football activity in May forcing his season to end before it ever began. Starting cornerback Jonathan McKnight tore an ACL right before the start of the season in August to end his season as well. Since then, Arizona has lost starts to starting defensive tackle Justin Washington (knee/foot), starting ends CJ Parish (ankle) and Mohammed Usman (ankle) and starting cornerback Shaquille Richardson (ankle). True freshman linebacker Hank Hobson, who started at USC, has also battled a knee injury in recent weeks. Corner Trevin Wade has battled injuries off and on as well, and was forced to miss last week's Colorado game. And of course there are the usual week-to-week nicks and dings that all players sustain. Added up, the Wildcats haven't had any luck putting a consistent lineup of players on defense all season long. In the end, some younger guys have gained some premature experience that may be a blessing in disguise for years to come under a new coaching regime.
Senior wide receiver Juron Criner has been etching his name into the Arizona career records for some time, but now he's quickly moving up some of the conference's all-time charts. Most notable are Criner's 29 receiving touchdowns, which put him No. 7 all-time in league history. One more scoring catch will give the 6-foot-4 target a share of No. 5 with Mario Bailey (Washington, 1988-91) and Mike Williams (USC, 2002-03). Two more grabs will equal Sean Dawkins (California, 1990-92) mark that ranks fourth, and three more will match Jason Hill (Washington State, 2003-06) and Ken Margerum (Stanford, 1977-80), who share second place. Dwayne Jarret (USC, 2004-06) is the league's all-time touchdown receptions leaders. Criner is challenging for position on the chart with Washington's Jermaine Kearse, who has 28 scoring touchdowns entering this week's action. Criner ranks No. 31 all-time with 2,596 receiving yards and No. 20 with 191 career receptions. On the national scale, Criner's 29 receiving touchdowns rank fifth-most for active players, trailing only Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles (45), Notre Dame's Michael Floyd (35), Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon (36) and Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller (32).
According to Jeff Sagarin's NCAA Football ratings, Arizona's schedule ranks as the toughest in the Pac-12 and the 12th-toughest in the nation to date. The Wildcats have played four teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Oregon, No. 8 Stanford and No. 18 USC. Those games were played in consecutive weeks from mid-September through early October. The Wildcats have since played three of its last five games on the road, going 1-4 with a home victory against UCLA on Oct. 20.
Spread the Wealth
How effectively has Nick Foles spread the ball around this season? Consider that 13 different targets have a reception. Nine players have at least 100 receiving yards, nine have a reception of 26 yards or longer and nine have a touchdown reception. Seven players have a reception of 40 yards or longer. Added together, the group averages 11.3 yards per reception. The headliner - Juron Criner - has 693 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. The supporting cast includes seniors Gino Crump (56-537), David Douglas (51-566) and David Roberts (36-358). It also includes junior Dan Buckner (39-577), sophomore Richard Morrison (20-190) and redshirt freshman Austin Hill (21-311). The aerial attack also includes backfield targets Ka'Deem Carey (11-156), Keola Antolin (17-120) and Taimi Tutogi (8-76), who all have receiving touchdowns on the season. Those are some pretty talented players that Foles has to work with, and he includes them all.
Arizona concludes its 2011 season at home against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday, Nov. 26. The game has been set for a 2 p.m. kickoff. There will not be a television broadcast.