Arizona State eyes fifth straight Territorial Cup win over Arizona

Arizona State football knows all about Arizona’s season, but players and coaches have chosen not to get ahead of themselves heading into the Territorial Cup.

After all, with the tension of the rivalry every year, there’s no shortage of emotions. Arizona State is coming off a 70-7 triumph last year in Tucson, adding even more fuel to the layered rivalry.

“It’s definitely a serious game. It doesn’t matter whoever’s record is in this game, it’s a hard-hitting game,” ASU defensive end Michael Matus said. “You can guarantee that they and we are going to play our best game.

“Once you get to game time and you get on the buses and you see all the tailgates, there are so many people here, it’s ridiculous. You have people screaming on the bus, then people cheer you on the bus.”

Saturday’s kickoff in Tempe is scheduled for 2 p.m. and airs on Pac-12 networks.

Continued:Arizona vs ASU Territorial Cup Soccer Game Updates: Will the Wildcats or the Sun Devils win?

Matus said he learned how to best prepare for the high-stakes game in his first season by watching players like N’Keal Harry, Manny Wilkins Jr. and Chase Lucas. Now a junior in a red shirt, he hopes he can now be the example to watch for younger players, as well as the many former players who have come in throughout the week to speak with the team.

The words spoken by former ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler were echoed by Matus. “He said that in 10 years we will remember this game more than any other game. I strongly believe that.

Offensive lineman LaDarius Henderson also knows the cost of defending the Territorial Cup, especially at home.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity that we have in front of us, and I think it means a lot more not just for the people in this building and in this dressing room, but for the guys who played five years ago, there are 10 years, the Rose Bowl team…” he said. “We can accomplish things for us and for them.”

While Arizona State is eligible for the bowl (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12), the struggling Wildcats will try to spoil their rival’s end of the season. Penalties have gripped both teams throughout the season, with Arizona State ranked 125th in the nation with 8.4 penalties per game and Arizona just behind them at 126th with 8.5 penalties per game.

Continued:Arizona vs. Arizona State TV football info: How to watch the Territorial Cup game

“It’s a heated rivalry, the momentum can change at any time. I think that’s one of the most important things to keep in mind,” Matus said. “Yes, we want to attack them. quickly, but I think it’s important to stay calm throughout the game. There are four quarters, there is a lot of football to play in 60 minutes.

Arizona (1-10, 1-7) ended its 19-game losing streak with a 10-3 win over California on Nov. 6. During the season, the Wildcats allow just 199.5 passing yards per game, which is third in the Pac-12 and 25th in the nation. Arizona is sixth in the Pac-12 in total defense with an average of 376.2 yards allowed per game.

“They are way better than their record and they have some hard hitting players and it’s a game we need to play our best game. Some of our seniors are playing their last time at this stadium so I think it’s a pretty big game for us,” Henderson said.

The battle between archivists now enters its 95th edition, with Arizona State holding the last four victories. The last time Arizona won at Sun Devil Stadium was in 2011; his overall record at Tempe is 11-19-1.

“You can feel the electricity, whether we go down there or they go up here, you can just feel it. It’s a different feeling because of the history of it all. Both fanbases are really excited about the release of this game. I’m glad it’s being played in the last game of the season,” said ASU coach Herm Edwards. “Never mind your record, this is the one.”

Continued:Somers: The Herm Edwards experiment failed; it’s time for the state of arizona to find a successor

Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602-647-4122. Follow her on Twitter @jennarortiz.

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