Concluding the 2022 season, Arizona Football (4-7, 2-6) will take on rival Arizona State (3-8, 2-6) in the annual Territorial Cup.
We are in the final week of the 2022 season for Arizona Football, and despite their upset of No. 12 UCLA two weeks ago, the Wildcats came crashing back to reality.
Hoping to keep their bowl hopes alive as they welcomed Washington State to town this past Saturday, the Wildcats could not live up to the moment, heartbreakingly falling 31-20.
Coming in, the Sun Devils have lost three straight to UCLA, Washington State, and Oregon State and ASU is looking to right the ship to close out the season.
With nothing to play for except bragging rights for the next year, Arizona will welcome those guys up north into town, and overall, this will be an emotional game for both teams as Arizona enters this one as the narrow favorite.
Hopefully, the Wildcats can end their season on a high note and come away the victors here. However, if that is to happen, Arizona will need to keep its emotions in check and play with a sense of urgency.
Getting to Know the details about Arizona Football’s opponent, the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Team: Arizona State Sun Devils
Conference: Pac-12 Conference
Current Record: 3–8 (2–6)
Head Coach: Shaun Aguano took over for Herm Edwards after previously serving as an assistant. Currently, he is 2-4 (2-4) as interim coach of ASU.
Before joining the Sun Devils, Aguano was a legendary coach at the High School level in Arizona, where he led Chandler to an impressive 88–19 record with multiple postseason appearances and several State Titles.
2021 Record: Finishing the 2021 season with a respectable, 8–5 (6–3) record, the Sun Devils ended their year with a dominant, 38-15 win over rival Arizona in Tempe in the Territorial Cup before falling to Wisconsin 20-13 in the Las Vegas Bowl in Nevada.
Key Returners / Starters:
Running more of a Spread Offense, ASU likes to get the ball in the hands of its playmakers and spread out opposing defenses.
Overall, this is a decently talented group that can score points and move the football well, look no further than their 25.3 points per game and 373.5 yards per game average.
Led by quarterbacks Emory Jones (former Florida transfer) and Trenton Bourguet (Tucson native), together, the two have combined for 2,647 yards passing and 15 touchdowns to just eight interceptions.
Both quarterbacks like to spread the field and are elusive runners as well that can extend plays with their feet.
Getting the ball into the hands of its offensive weapons, Arizona States uses players that include running back Xazavian Valladay and talented pass catchers Elijhah Badger, Jalin Conyers, and Giovanni Sanders most notably.
Behind Jones and Bourguet is an extremely talented backfield. While using Valladay and Daniyel Ngata mostly, it is Valladay who is the do-it-all back for the Sun Devils.
Through 11 games, Xazavian has rushed for 1,095 yards and 14 touchdowns on 191 carries. He is also averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
Using mixed looks, the Sun Devils run more of a 4-2-5 defense; however, in 2022, things have not been copacetic in the Valley.
Despite a bevy of talent on defense, this is a group that is surrendering 416.2 yards per game and 30.8 points per game to its opponents.
While the numbers may not be there, this is a group that is predicated on using its skill and talent, playing with a ton of toughness and physicality.
ASU likes to mix up its packages, and overall, they put seven or eight guys in the box to bring pressure.
Led by their major playmakers, the Sun Devils get significant contributions from Kyle Soelle, Khoury Bethley, Merlin Robertson, and Nesta Jade Silvera most notably, among several others.
Up front, the Devils have size and talent, and this is an aggressive but undisciplined group that is allowing opponents to rush for 179.7 yards rushing per game.
Defensive linemen Jade Silvera, Joe Moore, and B.J. Green II are their biggest contributors, and with Arizona’s injuries along the offensive line, they should challenge the Wildcats.
However, the secondary is where ASU may excel the most. Overall, the Sun Devils are surrendering 236.5 yards passing and an average of 1.3 touchdowns per game to opponents. ASU is also holding opposing teams a 61.1 completion percentage.
Largely led by defensive backs Chris Edmonds, Jordan Clark, and Timarcus Davis. Overall, the Sun Devils should challenge Arizona’s receivers a bit, as well as de Laura.
Arizona’s offense will have to make smarter choices with the football this week, especially against an opportunistic defense like ASU’s.
Game Information and details for Arizona Football:
When: Friday, November 25th, 2022
Time: 1:00 PM MST / 12:00 PM PST
Where: Arizona Stadium – Tucson, AZ (50,782)
Overall Series Record: 49-46-1 Arizona. Having met several times in their collective history, this is one of the oldest and most bitter rivalries in College Football.
However, despite Arizona’s dominance early on in this rivalry, as well as in the 80s, this is a matchup where the Sun Devils have made up significant ground, having won the last five meetings, including nine of its last 12 meetings.
Arizona’s last win against those guys up north came in 2016 when the Wildcats thumped ASU 56-35 without completing a single pass in the second half.
Last Meeting vs. Arizona: Last year in Tempe, the Wildcats were overmatched, losing 38-15. Arizona gained 396 yards of offense but fumbled to the Sun Devils once and threw an interception.
My Prediction: Arizona 34 Arizona State 31 – This one is going to be close. Arizona did not look good against Washington State, and even though Arizona is the slight favorite here, it will be an emotional game for our Wildcats, and more challenging is that even amid their struggles, the Sun Devils have more talent than the Wildcats.
With it being the day after Thanksgiving, look for Arizona Stadium to still be rocking, plus, the home-field advantage should give the Wildcats just enough to earn the win in what will be another classic Territorial Cup matchup!