ASU Tops Arizona In Territorial Cup, 20-17
Dec. 1, 2007
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona State's Rose Bowl dream died shortly before the Sun Devils took the field against arch rival Arizona.
The 13th-ranked Sun Devils kept their Fiesta Bowl hopes alive with a 20-17 victory over the Wildcats on Saturday night, their third straight Territorial Cup victory.
Rudy Carpenter threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns for ASU (10-2, 7-2 Pac-10), which has never played in a Bowl Championship Series game.
The Fiesta may have to choose between the hometown Sun Devils and 11-1 Kansas. And Hawaii, which kicked off late Saturday, was also on the Fiesta's radar.
ASU's slim shot at a Rose Bowl berth evaporated when USC defeated UCLA in Los Angeles -- a game that ended just as the Sun Devils and Wildcats were about to kick off. USC and ASU finished with identical conference records, but the Trojans had the tiebreaker by virtue of a 44-24 victory in Tempe on Nov. 22.
The Sun Devils didn't look like a BCS contender for most of a chilly night in the desert.
They started slowly, as usual, spotting Arizona a 7-0 first-quarter lead on a 1-yard pass from Willie Tuitama to Rob Gronkowski.
It was the eighth time the Sun Devils have trailed after one quarter.
But the Sun Devils woke up in the second, tying it at 7 on a 3-yard pass from Carpenter to Tyrice Thompson. Carpenter scrambled out of the pocket, pulled up at the line of scrimmage and shoveled the ball to Thompson, who outleaped two defenders under the goal post.
Thomas Weber kicked a 19-yard field goal in the second and converted from 21 yards in the third to give ASU a 13-7 lead. The Sun Devils had first-and-goal at the Arizona 1 in the second and failed to score a TD, and couldn't punch the ball in on first-and-goal from the Wildcats 3 in the third.
The Wildcats couldn't take advantage of their defensive stands.
Arizona had put up 116 points in its last three games. But the Wildcats' spread offense sputtered.
Quarterback Willie Tuitama turned the ball over three times -- twice on interceptions and once on a fumble. He completed 28 of 52 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns.
Arizona cut it to 13-10 on a 31-yard field goal by Jason Bondzio with 8:47 to play.
The Sun Devils responded with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Carpenter to Michael Jones with 4:27 to play.
ASU had to recover an onside kick after the Wildcats made it 20-17 on a 4-yard pass from Tuitama to Nicolas Grigsby with 26 seconds left.