Three takeaways from Arizona's 38-35 Territorial Cup win over Arizona State
Considering how poor the Arizona Wildcats played the last two seasons, how can their 2022 campaign be considered anything but a rousing success?
After winning 1 game last year, the Wildcats finished 1 win short of bowl eligibility, beat UCLA at the Rose Bowl and closed out the season with a thrilling 38-35 Territorial Cup win over hated Arizona State. The Wildcats won despite a 41-19 1st down advantage for the Sun Devils, who gained 537 yards of total offense.
Arizona rode its resurgent running game to nearly 300 yards against a weak Sun Devils defense, and the Wildcats picked off Trenton Bourguet at just the right time to seal the win. Big things are happening in Tucson for the ‘Cats.
Here are 3 takeaways from the 38-35 Arizona win.
Michael Wiley, have a day!
It appeared that the Arizona running back had turned the corner two weeks ago when the Wildcats score a surprising win at the Rose Bowl. In a 34-28 win over UCLA, Wiley had 21 carries for 97 yards and a score, easily outdistancing his previous high of 14 carries for 79 yards against Cal in Week 4.
Well, if you thought 97 yards was impressive, consider what Wiley did on Friday against the Sun Devils.
His first drive was an indication of how the rest of the day would go. Wiley’s 1st carry went for 22 yards and his 2nd for 9. Then he broke off a 51-yard touchdown run on his 3rd carry. He’d go on to add a 72-yard touchdown and a 12-yard touchdown run, as well, finishing with 214 yards on 12 carries.
And it wasn’t just Wiley who ran all over ASU.
Jonah Coleman added 6 carries for 48 yards and a score and DJ Williams had 4 carries for 17 yards and a score. All told, Arizona ran for 282 yards on 26 carries, a sparkling average of 10.8 yards per rush.
Trenton Bourguet makes his case
Former Tucson-raised backup quarterback Trenton Bourguet made a case to keep his starting job heading into next season, topping 300 passing yards for the 3rd time this season.
Bourguet, who wrestled the starting job from Florida transfer Emory Jones, had 376 yards on 37-of-49 passing with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
One of the picks was particularly costly, coming on 2nd-and-15 at the ASU 43-yard line with just 1 minute, 16 seconds left in the game.
But Bourguet’s body of work has been enough to prove he shoudl get at least a shot at the starting role going into next year.
Wildcats snap a streak
Arizona holds a 50-45-1 edge in the long-standing Territorial Cup rivalry, but things have gone Arizona State’s way for several years.
The Wildcats’ win snapped a 5-game losing streak to the Sun Devils, who had won 14 of the previous 20 matchups before Saturday.
If Arizona State doesn’t nail its coaching hire, the Sun Devils could be in for a prolonged drought against the Wildcats, who appear on the rise under Jedd Fisch, with the recruiting classes to match the on-field success.
It probably won’t swing to Arizona like the early days, though: The Wildcats won 20 of 21 matchups between 1902 and 1948.