Arizona lost to Arizona State 34-41 in Tucson. Read on to find out why Arizona wasn't able to come away with the victory.
lost the Duel in the Desert, giving the Territorial Cup back to the Sun Devils after holding it for a season. The Wildcats fell in a close game that was plagued by mistakes and injuries, but to their credit, they managed to stay in the game to the very end.
In cohesion with the red out and the re-introduction of the red helmets, Wilbur the Wildcat sported a red hat in favor of his traditional blue hat. He also wore a red jersey to match the team.
For the second week in a row, the Arizona Wildcats won the toss and elected to receive. Last weekend against Utah, the Wildcats elected to receive and turned the ball over on downs deep in Ute territory. Against ASU, the Wildcats faced a similar situation, but elected to punt.
Matt Scott had a troubled night. Never truly looking comfortable in the pocket, the senior was consistently running bootlegs in order to buy some time. He finished the night just 19-39, passing for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Scott also ran eleven times for 42 yards in the game.
"We just didn't get open and we didn't execute," Head Coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Matt made some good decisions and there are some I'm sure he'd like to have back, but he's a stud. I told him in the locker room that I loved him. I'm proud of the way he's played in every game this year."
Scott was also plagued by turnovers throughout the night, with four in total. He threw four interceptions, although one was ruled null and void because of a roughing the passer call. Scott also had a fumble late in the fourth quarter.
Turnovers are never good, but are even worse when they lead to points for the other team. Arizona State scored touchdowns off of each of Scott's turnovers, giving the Sun Devils 28 points off of turnovers for the game.
Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey started the game strong, rushing for a touchdown early. Towards the end of the game, his performance tapered off as he battled an injury. He finished the game with 172 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
"He was banged up before the game, then got banged up even more during the game," Rodriguez said. "He played hard, though."
Early in the first quarter, Carey burst through the line for a four yard gain, picking up a first down. The play was significant because it gave the sophomore the Arizona single season rushing record. The end of the game set the rushing record set at 1,757 yards. That number will be expected to rise with Carey's performance in a bowl game.
With the first touchdown of the day, Carey leapt over defenders into the end zone. In the aftermath, Arizona placekicker John Bonano missed the extra point attempt. It was his first PAT he has missed in his career, as he was 49-49 coming into the game. Bonano later made two field goals and two other extra points, including a two-point conversion run that made up for his missed kick.
Arizona State's offense was fueled by junior running back Marion Grice. He carried the ball just eighteen times, but rushed for 156 yards and a game-high three touchdowns. Grice weaved his way past defenders early in the game, setting the tone for the rest of the evening. He went on to win the Bob Moran Most Outstanding Player Award for the Duel in the Desert.
Garic Wharton had a career game, picking up the slack left by the injured Dan Buckner. He caught six balls, totaling a game-high 89 yards. He also had a spectacular fingertip catch that led to his first career touchdown and his only one on the night.
Arizona State had only been outscored in one quarter consistently throughout the season. It was a close margin, but the Sun Devils had been outscored 61-60 in the third quarter up until the the Arizona matchup. The Wildcats made the margin wider, scoring eighteen points in the third quarter while ASU could muster just three.
The Duel in the Desert was a game of runs. Arizona went on a 18-0 run in the third quarter, but the Sun Devils did one better, scoring 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to seal win.
"This was a high energy game and I didn't expect it to be any different," nose guard Tevin Hood said. "There were a lot of momentum shifts and it really played a big part of the game."