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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Territorial Cup Edition: Three Ways to win, three ways to lose

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Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat

Three ways to win

Anu Solomon

Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon is listed as questionable for Saturday’s Territorial Cup matchup after a questionable hit he took to the head while playing against Utah. 

If Solomon decides to suit up against Arizona’s biggest foe, then the Wildcats will prevail in Tempe. Despite Solomon receiving scrutiny for the team’s performance throughout the season, he silenced the critics by throwing for a combined 629-yards and five touchdowns against USC and Utah. 

Regardless, Solomon has posted the numbers to give Arizona hope and he can run away from Sun Devil territory with the last laugh. 

Sling the rock

Whoever plays Saturday will have a fairly easy task in throwing the football. 

ASU’s defense is ranked No. 84 in the nation, giving up 422 yards per game and nearly 300 passing yards per game. The writing on the wall is as clear as day for the Wildcats; just throw the football and the Sun Devils will crumble, especially with the resurrection of Arizona receivers Nate Phillips and Cayleb Jones. 

Whether it’s Solomon or backup Jerrard Randall, the quarterbacks have to get a grip on the tempo of the game and put ASU’s defensive backs on their heels. 

Motivation

This week, a group of ASU students took the yellow brick road down to Tucson and performed the ultimate prank on Arizona. 

Standing on the UA Mall just outside of the Student Union Memorial Center, they petitioned Arizona students to give the UA back to Mexico.

The students filmed the prank and released footage of UA students signing the petition on YouTube.  The ultimate troll was successful and ASU won the first battle. 

However, the football squad must end the war. It’s up to the football team to walk out in hateful territory and thump the Sun Devils to maintain the Territorial Cup. Arizona will play with a chip on their shoulder, and even though the injury bug has bitten the team, Arizona will play hungry and motivated. 

Three ways to lose

The Italian Stallion

Mike Bercovici, formerly known as “Vici” in his neck of the woods, will be an issue for Arizona. Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez had some kind words for the ASU quarterback in Monday’s press conference. 

“He can make all of the throws,” Rodriguez said. “This guy has got as strong an arm as anybody in the league and he can get rid of it quickly. That’s what really scares you, that you can bring pressure and have a guy on block but he’s got such a quick release that he’ll get it there in a hurry.”

Bercovici threw for 253 yards against Washington last week. He’ll play with motivation in his last matchup with Arizona, which might be a nightmare in the making.

Worrying about the recruits

ASU has an abundance of talented recruits already committed. 

Four-star receiver N’Keal Harry highlights the 2016 class and there will be more recruits of that caliber sitting in on the Duel in the Desert. Rodriguez hopes to raise some eyebrows of recruits in their performance, but worrying about if a bunch of 18-year-olds admire the program could be another reason why the Wildcats drop the game Saturday. 

Not getting in the grill

A recent Arizona trend is to bring the safety off the edge and blitz the quarterback, especially in the last two games.

Tellas Jones and Anthony Lopez have succeeded and if the pair can find ways to get in Bercovici’s face, then they will win. If Bercovici sits pretty in the pocket without pressure, Arizona will struggle at Sun Devil Stadium.  

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