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Video: 2013 Territorial Cup preview

Nov 28, 2013

This may be just the second battle for the Territorial Cup between second-year coaches Rich Rodriguez of Arizona and Todd Graham of Arizona State but the rivalry extends far beyond contract length. First awarded in 1899, this rivalry trophy is the oldest in college football. While it currently resides in Tempe, RichRod’s Wildcats look to reclaim it on the momentous heels of their upset of Oregon last week. Of course, if the South Division champs have anything to say about it, the Cup ain’t going nowhere.

Series History: First kicking off in 1899 (the president at the time was William McKinley), the Territorial Cup gets its name from the fact that Arizona was still a territory when the rivalry began. Since that 19th-century game, the U of A leads the series 47-38-1. The longest winning streak in the series also belongs to the Wildcats (11) but interestingly enough, these two have alternated victories in each of the last four meetings. Also of note, and perhaps a Sun Devil alert, the home team has not won since 2008.

Memorable Moment: In 1986, with Todd Van Raaphorst and the Sun Devil offense looking to cut into a 24-10 Arizona lead from the five-yard line, Chuck Cecil jumped a route for an interception. An interception he’d return 100 yards for an Arizona six, all but securing a Wildcat victory. A great moment in Territorial Cup history, to be certain, but ASU fans will be quick to remind Wildcat fans that as great a play as Cecil’s 100-yard interception was, it wasn’t rosy. No, Arizona has never played a bowl game in Pasadena, but in 1996, the Sun Devils secured their spot in the conference's coveted bowl with a resounding 56-14 whooping in Tucson.

Traditions: There are some additional award components to this game including a sculpture by Ben Goo awarded to the game’s MVP (the Ben Goo Trophy) and the Saguaro Trophy (by Dora Perry). The latter is a bronze trophy given to the game’s winning coach. It lives on his desk until he has to yield it to a new victor.

Three Players to Watch for Arizona:

  1. Ka'Deem Carey – The powerful running back sealed his name in the Arizona history books last week as the school’s all-time leading rusher. He’s currently the nation’s fourth-leading back after pacing the NCAA in rushing last year.
  2. BJ Denker – The Wildcat play caller has improved as the season has progressed, saving what Arizona fans hope is his best for last. Especially considering last week’s 19-22 passing for 178 yards and two touchdowns against Oregon. Oh, and don’t forget the 102 rushing yards he tacked on. Can he improve on that?
  3. Jake Fischer – The senior linebacker and homegrown product is a key piece of Jeff Casteel’s 3-3-5 defense. He’s third on the team in tackles (trailing Marquis Flowers and Scooby Wright) and has also acquired one fumble recovery and an interception.

Three Players to Watch for Arizona State:

  1. Carl Bradford – Will Sutton is going to get a lot of the defensive attention on this ASU roster and deservedly so. He’s the returning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, after all. But Bradford has pieced together a terrific season wrecking havoc on Pac-12 offenses. He’s second on the team with 6.5 sacks and seventh in tackles. He’s also recorded a pick and has one 20 yard rush. Jack of all trades.
  2. Marion Grice – The all-purpose back leads the team in rushing and is third in receiving. He’s accumulated 20 total touchdowns. If the U of A defense isn’t watching out for him, you’ll have no trouble finding him. Probably in the end zone.
  3. Jaelen Strong – This is QB Taylor Kelly’s favorite target. He’s caught 65 balls for 925 yards and six scores. In this, his first season in Tempe, Strong has proven to be quite a strong receiver (see what I did there?).