If Arizona State coach Todd Graham has learned one thing about this rivalry it’s that the previous games don’t matter.
“It doesn't matter what the records are,” Graham said. It doesn't matter what you've done up to this point. The bottom line, this is a rival game and one that is very passionate on both sides.”
For Graham, the difference in the game is simple.
“This game has been a game where it comes down to turnovers,” he said. “You've got to win that battle. The years we've won that battle, we've won, and the years we haven't, we haven’t.”
The Sun Devils are preparing to face both Anu Solomon and Jerrard Randall, who both present a unique challenge.
“Both very, very athletic,” Graham said. “Obviously Solomon is a very seasoned veteran, has tremendous athleticism. Both of them have tremendous ability to extend plays, can operate their system, understand their system very, very well.”
If Solomon is injured, Randall will threaten ASU with his ability to run.
“Randall is a phenomenal athlete, really scary,” Graham said. “I think he's their second or third leading rusher in the limited amount of plays that he's played. I mean, he throws the ball well.
“I think obviously Solomon is the more seasoned, more veteran, has more of a command of the offense, obviously, and Randall is just a tremendous athlete and very, very explosive, had a big, big game -- threw the game-winning touchdown and came in and did a great job for them.”
No matter who gets the call at quarterback, Graham believes the defense will have its hands full.
“Both very athletic, both very hard to contain, both you have to account for, and, you know, Randall would be just a really, really explosive runner,” Graham said.
“I mean, a guy that's every bit as explosive as any tailback, so he's a challenge. Both of them are very good players.”