It's funny, when I went to ASU, I don't remember anything about the Territorial Cup. The point was to beat UofA's ass in football. We could have cared less about the Cup. Anyway, I digress.
Last night's ASU victory was sweet. This was the year that Arizona was going to be dominant and had a chance at the Rose Bowl. As for ASU, this was a rebuilding year. We weren't going to be very good. In fact, we only had 13 seniors on the team. The fewest in the PAC-10 and the fewest since 1985, the year before ASU went to the Rose Bowl.
ASU finished with a 6-6 record, but since two of those wins were against lesser football conference opponents, the Devils are not bowl eligible. However, not all hope is lost. Of ASU's six losses this year, only one was not a contest, a 50-17 blowout at the hands of Cal. As for the five losses? Well, it started in Wisconsin who was ranked #11 nationally at the time. A one point loss in a game that many thought ASU got robbed on a bad call. Also, there was a kickoff return that ended at the 1-yard line at the end of the first half that would have given ASU another 7 points. Wisconsin was a team that would eventually go on to post 3 consecutive 70+ point games later in the year and the Devils only lost by 1 point.
Next came Oregon, ranked #5 at the time. The Devils were never really given a chance, but they played Oregon tough for 3 quarters before finally losing ground in the 4th and lost 42-31. Not an embarrassment by any stretch.
Loss #3 was to Oregon State by 3 points. A good effort and a close loss.
Loss #4 was the beat down by Cal.
Loss #5 was a one point disappointment @ USC. The irony? They lost on a blocked PAT, 34-33.
Loss #6 was a 17-13 loss to 6th ranked Stanford. Another close loss to nationally ranked top 10 team.
So, not a bad year effort wise. A more mature team might have pulled out the Wisconsin and USC games. One break or two versus Stanford and Oregon State and the Devils could have been a 10-2 team this year without a big stretch of the imagination. Oh, the what ifs!
As for last night's sweetness, ASU salvaged a tie in regulation with a blocked PAT (karma from USC) and then won the game in overtime on a second blocked PAT. Absolutely amazing. You rarely see a blocked PAT affect a final score, let alone be the play to end a game. The game was marred by some atrocious punting. At one point, the ASU punter had an 8-yard punt after his foot kicked his own calf and almost missed the ball. However, he was quickly forgotten when the U of A punter managed the rare 0-yard punt. A very strange game indeed.
Congratulations to ASU for closing out their season with a win over the Mildcats. As for U of A, they finish on a 4-game losing streak and will be relegated to a minor bowl. A far cry from the dreams of roses they entered the season with.