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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


It’s rivalry week and the Devils are coming

Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat

Arizona football hosts archrival ASU on Friday before a sellout crowd and a national TV audience with not only the Territorial Cup on the line, but possibly the Pac-12 Conference South championship.

The No. 11/12 Wildcats (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) face No. 13/13 ASU on Black Friday at 1:30 p.m. MST on Fox. If No. 8/9 UCLA gets upset by Stanford, also on Friday, the winner of the Territorial Cup takes the Pac-12 South championship.

“It should be electric,” UA football head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “It is a 1:30 p.m. rivalry game, and there is a lot is at stake. I have been here almost three years now, and it should be as electric an atmosphere as we have had since I have been here. I would be surprised if it is not.”

Arizona and ASU enter the Territorial Cup both ranked for the first time since 1986. The NCAA recognizes the Territorial Cup as the oldest rivalry trophy in the country.

“My first year, I didn’t know much about it,” UA defensive lineman Dan Pettinato said on the ASU rivalry. “As the years went on, I realized how hostile the environment is up there, and I’m sure they feel the same when they come down here. Playing here, you [come] to learn how intense this rivalry really is.”

It is the second time ever that UA and ASU have met when each team has nine wins.

ASU is 17th in the country in scoring offense and 64th in scoring defense.

“They have some really explosive players, and they put a lot of pressure on you,” Rodriguez said. “From a mental and physical standpoint, you have to make sure you are really disciplined with your eyes and your techniques.”

The Sun Devils beat Arizona 58-21 in 2013.

“It was tough because it was one of those losses that stick with you, especially because of how we lost,” UA safety Jared Tevis said about the 2013 blowout. “It hurts because we didn’t give them our best shot, but we have a chance to give them our best shot this week. We have been looking forward to it.”

The Wildcats lead the all-time series 47-39-2 and 29-19 in Tucson. However, at Arizona, Rodriguez is 0-2 against ASU.

“You know that for your fans, particularly in-state, that the rivalry game is going to mean a lot,” Rodriguez said, “I promise you, it doesn’t mean any more to them than it does to the players and coaches.”

Go D.J., that’s my D.J.

ASU features running back D.J. Foster, a threat on the ground and in the passing game.

Foster is 21st in the nation and fourth in the league in all-purpose yards with 141.27 per game. Foster also has 41 “explosive” plays this season, 25 rushes of 12+ yards and 16 receptions of 16+ yards.

“You have to account for him wherever he is on the field,” Tevis said. “They put him in the slot and at running back, and they have a lot of playmakers who they try to get the ball to.”

Foster is seventh in the conference in rushing with 88 yards per game. He ran for 124 yards last year against the UA.

Get to know ASU

Earlier this month, “Dumb and Dumber To” became the latest movie or TV show to take a shot at ASU.

“The Simpsons,” “30 Rock” and “American Dad” have also made fun of ASU.

ASU also has an “A” Mountain. It is usually yellow, but UA pranksters have a knack for painting it Arizona’s school colors.
ASU, which was previously known as Tempe Normal School, Tempe State Teacher’s College, Arizona State Teacher’s College and Arizona State College, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The Sun Devils were previously known as the Owls and Bulldogs, and in 1946, they adopted their current name. However, they don’t know where the nickname came from.

Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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