Territorial Cup Goes To Arizona State
Nov 29, 2002
by Travis Breedlvoe, ASU Sports Information
The Sun Devils (8-5, 5-3) traveled down South to take on their interstate rival, the University of Arizona Wildcats (4-8, 1-7), in their annual 'Dual in the Desert' for the Territorial Cup. Arizona State was looking to reclaim the Territorial Cup after losing to the Wildcats last year in Sun Devil Stadium and they also hoped to break their current three game losing streak heading into their bowl game.
'We had this game targeted since 365 days ago,' said ASU head coach Dirk Koetter.
The Sun Devils would let Arizona hang in the game up until the fourth quarter when Mike Williams and the Devil offense took over scoring 14 unanswered points to seal a 34-20 win and bring back the Territorial Cup to the Arizona State University campus in Tempe.
ASU would win the toss electing to defer with U of A receiving the opening kickoff. Kicker Greg Pieratt would send the opening kickoff out of the back of the end zone to start the Wildcats at their own 20-yard line. Arizona running back Mike Bell would help lead the Wildcats down the field with a rush of 20 yards followed by quarterback Jason Johnson completing a 19-yard pass to Andre Thurman getting passed mid-field. Two plays later Johnson would find himself under NCAA sack leader Terrell Suggs for his 21st sack of the season and a loss of 15-yards bringing up a long third down. The Arizona drive would be kept alive due to a personal foul against ASU giving them a first down at the Sun Devil 49-yard line. U of A would get to the ASU 26-yard line before senior linebacker Mason Unck would intercept a Johnson pass and return it 32 yards setting up ASU's first possession of the game.
The Sun Devil offense came out with a no huddle look, but would fail to move the ball forcing Tim Parker to punt it away 50 yards for a touchback.
The Maroon and Gold defense would not let up however, limiting Arizona to only three yards on the next series setting up a blocked punt on special teams. Matt Miller would break free on the special teams unit blocking Arizona kicker Danny Baugher's attempt, recovered by Joey Smith, and giving the Sun Devils the ball at the Wildcat 11-yard line.
The blocked punt would set up the first points of the game for ASU as Mike Barth would make a 27-yard field goal to put ASU on the board first with a 3-0 lead.
It would not take the Wildcats long to add points of their own as Johnson would set up a Beau Carr one-yard touchdown run by finding Lance Relford open for a 43-yard completion. After a good extra point the home Cats took the lead 7-3.
ASU would come out running again on their next series, but a holding penalty, quarterback sack and finally an Andrew Walter interception would stop the Sun Devils and U of A would take over, after the turnover, at their own two-yard line to end the first quarter.
The Wildcats were looking to build on their lead when Terrell Suggs would strip Carr of the ball with a crucial stop on the goal line. Mason Unck would recover the loose ball for another Wildcat turnover giving the ball back to the Sun Devils.
On this series Andrew Walter and the Sun Devil offense would not be denied. ASU would ride on the back of Mike Williams as they marched down the field picking up four first downs in the process. The offense would alternate between Williams rushing and Walter finding tight end Mike Pinkard for three eleven-plus yard gains, capped off by a 28-yard completing to Derek Hagan. The Hagan reception would set up a Mike Williams five-yard touchdown run. Mike Williams would carry five times for 23 yards on the 10 play 94-yard drive for his first touchdown of the game putting ASU up 10-7.
'As they gained control of the line of scrimmage, they were wearing us down,' U of A head coach John Mackovic said.
After Arizona failed to move the ball on their next possession ASU would start at the U of A 49-yard line to begin their next drive. Again ASU would ride Mike Williams, as he would carry the ball on six straight plays to the ASU 25-yard line. Unfortunately, Walter would throw an interception in the end zone to David Hinton giving the ball back to the Wildcats.
Arizona would take advantage of the turnover moving the ball 80-yards down the field to set up a Beau Carr 6-yard touchdown run. However, Keel would miss the extra point giving Arizona just a three-point lead heading into half time up 13-10.
On ASU's first possession of the second half the Sun Devils would drive 64-yards on 11 plays to add another Mike Barth 32-yard field goal to tie the game at 13-13.
In one of the wildest series of the game the two teams would trade fumbles setting up the Wildcats next possession starting at their own 27-yard line.
U of A would move the ball 73-yards as Johnson would spread out the Wildcat offense finding Bobby Wade for a 23-yard reception then Andre Thurman for 16 more yards finally getting down to the ASU 10-yard line. Johnson would hit Biren Ealy for a 10-yard touchdown reception to put the Wildcats back on top 20-13.
ASU would answer back with their own 13 play 84-yard scoring drive as Andrew Walter would hit Mike Pinkard with a 20-yard completion to start the drive. Mike Williams would punch in his second rushing touchdown of the game from four yards out to tie the game at 20-20 and bring an end to the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter Arizona would fail to get past midfield as the Sun Devil defense held them in check and the ASU offense wore down the Wildcats with their punishing running game.
Mike Williams would rush for his third touchdown of the game from eight yards out to put the Sun Devils on the top of the Wildcats with just over nine minutes left in the game 27-20.
The Wildcats fate was sealed when during the next series Arizona QB Jason Johnson would throw a tipped interception to Jason Shivers resulting in another takeaway for the Sun Devils.
The ASU offense would take two more minutes off the clock, as Mike Williams would rush for his fourth touchdown, capping his career best 40 carry 162 rushing yards for the night. ASU would lead 34-20 with just over six minutes left in the game.
'I'm tired,' said Williams, who was named the MVP of the game for his performance. 'But it's a good tired.'
'I love it when a plan comes together,' Dirk Koetter said referring to his dominating running game plan against Arizona.
Arizona would have one last chance at putting some points on the board, but Johnson would throw another interception to Jason Shivers allowing ASU to run out the clock and seal a Sun Devil victory 34-20.
'Every year, people tell us not to lose to U of A,' Mason Unck said. 'Well, we didn't. We beat U of A and everyone is going to be happy for a year.'
'(Arizona) did not want to lose. You could tell by the way they were playing that they did not want to lose this game,' said Terrell Suggs. 'But the better team won.'
GAME NOTES: Junior tailback Mike Williams recorded ASU's second 100-yard rushing game this season with a career-high 162 yards on 40 carries and four TD's. Redshirt freshman Cornell Canidate had ASU's other 100-yard game when he equaled the century mark in the second game of the year vs. Eastern Washington. His 40 rushing attempts are the second most in ASU single-game history, with the school record of 44 set by Kevin Galbreath vs. UCLA in 1992. Williams broke his previous career high of 143 yards on 33 carries vs. Colorado State (9/15/00) during his freshman season. His four TD's are tied for the second most in ASU single-game history (now done 18 times) and marks the third time this year a Sun Devil has scored four TD's in the game as Canidate also had four vs. Stanford and Shaun McDonald had four vs. SDSU. The four rushing TD's are tied for the second most in single-game history with Terry Battle last scoring four vs. USC in 1996. The school record is five rushing TD's by Ben Malone vs. Oregon State in 1973...Junior defensive end Terrell Suggs had already broken the Pac-10, ASU and NCAA single-season sacks record, and today vs. Arizona etched his name in the record books one more time with two more sacks to give him 42 in his career breaking the ASU career record. The previous mark was 41 set by Shante Carver (1990-93). Suggs ended tied for the team lead with eight total tackles (five solo, three assisted) and had three tackles for loss (-23 yards). He now has 29.5 TFL in 2002 and 63.5 in his career... With his game-high and career-high six catches for 80 yards vs. the Wildcats, senior tight end Mike Pinkard now has 29 catches this year to move into a tie for eighth with Ken Dyer (1966) for receptions in a season by a Sun Devil tight end...With three catches for 52 yards, freshman wide receiver Derek Hagan now has 30 catches to tie the freshman school record set by College Football Hall of Fame member and former NFL wide receiver John Jefferson in 1974. His 386 receiving yards are now just 37 yards short of the freshman record also set by Jefferson in 1974...The 10 play, 94-yard drive by ASU in the second quarter is the longest of the year and the longest by the Sun Devils under head coach Dirk Koetter. ASU's previous long this year was a six play, 91 yard drive for a TD vs. Stanford (9/28) and the previous longest for a Koetter team was a 14-play, 93-yard drive against USC last year...Mason Unck's interception in the first quarter was the first of his career (30th career game) and was ASU's Pac-10 leading 20th INT (at the time) of the year. Unck's INT also marked the 13th player to record at least one INT this year for the Sun Devils. Sophomore Jason Shivers recorded his second and third INT's of the year in the fourth quarter for the team's 21st and 22nd of 2002. The 22 interceptions are tied for the 10th most in ASU single-season history. That marks the most picks since intercepting 23 passes in 1991.