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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The Arizona fan’s guide to the ASU rivalry

    The Arizona fans guide to the ASU rivalry

    It’s one of the longest-standing rivalries in football, with the oldest documented trophy being the Territorial Cup that’s given to the winning school for the year, but the Arizona-Arizona State rivalry goes deeper than pigskin.

    There are the facts – the Wildcats currently hold the series lead in six of the nine sports where teams can be directly pitted against one another, including men’s basketball (136-73), football (44-34-1), softball (91-73), baseball (227-185-1), volleyball (36-33) and men’s tennis (58-35), as well as the overall lead (636-518-3) – and then there are the incidents that fuel the rivalry.

    Where does the hate between the two schools stem from? Here are the highlights:

    1937: According to the City of Tempe’s Web site, things got off to a bang when the then-Arizona State Teachers College (ASTC) raided the Wildcats’ football roster by persuading three Arizona freshmen to transfer from Tucson and join their squad in Tempe.

    In response, the Wildcats refused to play ASTC again until all three players graduated, leaving a four-year gap until the two schools met again in 1941 (which the Wildcats won, 20-7).

    February 1988: While warming up for a game in Tempe against the Sun Devils, former Wildcat guard Steve Kerr endured taunts of “”PLO,”” “”Where’s your Dad?”” and “”Go back to Beirut”” in reference to Kerr’s father, Malcolm, the former president of Beirut’s American University, who was brutally murdered by terrorists four years earlier. Kerr went on to score 19 first-half points.

    November 2001: After Arizona downed ASU 34-21 in Tempe, a group of Wildcats began singing “”Bear Down, Arizona”” at midfield in Sun Devil Stadium, much to the chagrin of a few Sun Devils who charged the Arizona players, resulting in a midfield melee.

    Two years later, then-senior safety Clay Hardt said he enjoyed “”beating them up there in their own house and then beating them again after the game.””

    January 2004: Apparently there’s something about mocking the dead that runs rampant in Sun Devils fans. After protesting that former Sun Devils center Ike Diogu was receiving preferential treatment, Arizona head coach Lute Olson was assessed a technical foul.

    After raining down profanities on Olson and his squad all day long – including references to Olson’s wife, Bobbi, who succumbed to cancer more than two years earlier – the ASU student section went nuts. With the game well in hand, Olson responded by pointing to the scoreboard. After then-ASU coach Rob Evans called the move “”classless,”” Olson responded, “”I’ve been listening to that stuff for 21 years. I thought it was time they got a response.””

    November 2005: With Arizona up 20-12 late in last year’s game in Tempe, the Wildcats’ two top offensive weapons – then-freshman quarterback Willie Tuitama and then-senior running back Mike Bell – went down with injuries. (Bell left after taking a Sun Devil helmet to the thigh, Tuitama after absorbing a late hit from then-junior safety Zach Catanese in the ribs.) The cheap shots ultimately propelled the Sun Devils to a 23-20 victory, setting up the revenge matchup at Arizona Stadium this fall.

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