Arizona takes Territorial Cup
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Samajie Grant ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns, and Arizona racked up a school-record 511 yards on the ground to roll over rival Arizona State 56-35 Friday night.
Working out of a huddle for the first time under coach Rich Rodriguez, Arizona (3-9, 1-8 Pac-12) reeled off one big play after another, starting with Brandon Dawkins' 71-yard touchdown run on the game's third play.
The Wildcats had three players eclipse 100 yards rushing for the first time since 1993, turning the Territorial Cup into a runaway while ending their eight-game losing streak.
Dawkins had 183 yards rushing, Zach Green added 126 yards and both scored two touchdowns for the Wildcats, who didn't throw a pass in the second half.
Arizona State (5-7, 2-7) lost its sixth straight game and failed to become bowl eligible for the first time in five seasons under coach Todd Graham.
Manny Wilkins threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns for Arizona State.
The Sun Devils and Wildcats labored through the first 11 games of the season, fighting injuries and breakdowns to set up the first Territorial Cup with two losing since 2003.
Regardless of the records, this rivalry always has a flair to it, whether it's big plays, mammoth comebacks, missed PATs that decide the outcome.
The 90th Duel in the Desert certainly got off to a wild start with a first quarter that included a long TD run, three turnovers — one returned for a TD — and a badly-missed field goal by the NCAA's career leader.
Dawkins had the TD run, bursting up the middle for 71 yards. Arizona State's Koron Crump had the return, going 42 yards on Dawkins' fumble. And Arizona State's Zane Gonzalez, who's made more field goals than anyone in college football history, pushed a 53-yard field goal about 15 yards right.
Dawkins opened the second quarter on a 10-yard, tackling-breaking run, then found Nate Phillips, who was left uncovered on a screen and raced 64 yards for a touchdown. Green's 1-yard TD run put Arizona up 21.
Arizona State finally showed some life just before halftime with Tim White scoring on a 21-yard touchdown pass just. Kalen Ballage opened the third quarter on a 2-yard run to cut Arizona's lead to 28-21.
Then Arizona ran away with it.
Going exclusively to the run, the Wildcats stretched the lead behind Grant and Green.
Grant scored on a 9-yard run in the third quarter, Green on a 1-yarder. Grant added a 2-yard TD run to start the fourth and went 63 yards for a score to cap the runaway.
Arizona State had the nation's worst pass defense for the second straight season and ended with one of its worst performances ever against the run.
Arizona had a disappointing season, but putting up a performance like this against its rival will go a long way to washing away some of the bad taste.
Arizona State's season ends without a bowl game for the first time since 2010.