Game Notes: Arizona vs Arizona State

Arizona held on in the final minutes of Friday's game to beat ASU 42-35 and win the Pac-12 South. Read to find out who the MVP was, how Arizona won, and more.

Arizona won the Pac-12 South after an up and down game with Arizona State, coming away with a 42-35 victory. Here's a closer look at what happened:

  • The game started out with a bang for Arizona. Before the Wildcats' offense ever touched the field it had taken 7-0 lead. On the first third down for the Sun Devils, Taylor Kelly was sacked by Scooby Wright and the ball came loose. Anthony Lopez scooped up the fumble and rushed into the end zone, giving Arizona a 7-0 lead just 44 seconds into the game.

  • Nick Wilson was the Territorial Cup MVP and there wasn't a single reason that he shouldn't have gotten it. The true freshman carried the ball 24 times, amassing 178 yards and scoring three times.

    Wilson got on the board late in the first half, rumbling to the end zone on a 4th-and-one play from the 21-yard line. He followed it up with a one-yard score and a 72-yard touchdown run in the second half.

  • Freshman quarterback Anu Solomon was questionable entering the game, but had a solid performance in the Territorial Cup victory. In his first match-up with ASU, Solomon completed 15 of his 21 passes for 208 yards and two scores. His passer rating came in at 186.1, but his play reflected an even better game.

    Solomon only had one turnover, a botched hand off early in the game that resulted in a Sun Devils touchdown, but from then on the quarterback refused to go down without a fight and made several big plays down the stretch to keep his team ahead.

  • Samajie Grant had a big game for the Wildcats, scoring the first offensive touchdown of the day on a 69-yard catch and run as he weaved his way through defenders on his way to the end zone. Although he only caught four passes, his last of the day was the biggest. Grant caught a 20-yard pass from Solomon as the quarterback was hit, scoring Arizona's final points of the game. It turned out to be the game-deciding touchdown.

  • The Arizona defense was led by sophomore Scooby Wright and senior Tra'Mayne Bondurant. Wright was in the backfield all day long, with five of his 13 tackles coming for a loss of yards. Bondurant had eleven tackles, with two of them coming behind the line of scrimmage.

    That wasn't all for Arizona as Jourdan Grandon came up big for the Wildcats, intercepting a pass deep in Arizona State territory. The pick set up Grant's second touchdown catch.

  • Arizona State's biggest threat on Friday was Jaelen Strong. In the first half, the receiver caught three passes for 74 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with an injury. He later returned, but was only targeted two more times, catching just a single pass for six yards in the second half.

  • Both teams struggled on special teams throughout the day. Arizona State had a punt blocked that led to an Arizona turnover with a couple minutes left in the first half. After ASU's next offensive drive, Davonte' Neal muffed the punt, giving the Sun Devils the ball at the 12-yard line. The Sun Devils eventually scored and tied the game at 21 heading to the locker room.

  • Taylor Kelly started the game for the Sun Devils, but was pulled after a 13-22 for 144 yards effort. Todd Graham went with Mike Bercovici late in the game, but he didn't play much better, completing 14 of his 22 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, but threw the lone interception of the game.

  • With the win, Arizona improves to 10-2 on the season. The last time the Wildcats won 10 regular season games was 1998, when Arizona finished the regular season 11-1 and beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.

  • Even though the game was tied on three separate occasions after the first score of the day, Arizona never trailed in the game, leading by as many as 14 in the fourth quarter.

  • Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan completed 16 of his 19 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns as the Cardinal upset the UCLA Bruins 31-10. The loss for UCLA combined with the win for Arizona landed the Wildcats in first place in the Pac-12 South for the first time since the division split when the conference became 12 schools.

    Winning the Pac-12 South outright gives Arizona the right to play in the Pac-12 Championship against Oregon for the conference title on Friday night.


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