The name Behind Enemy Lines has never been more apt considering the opponent for Friday's game. We chatted with Kevin Zimmerman of our SB Nation sister site Arizona Desert Swarm, who gave his take on the matchup.
House of Sparky: How critical is it that Anu Solomon is back and healthy for Friday?
Arizona Desert Swarm: I keep going back and forth on this, because I think Arizona can survive with backup Jesse Scroggins pretty well (whether "pretty well" is good enough for Arizona to win, I'm not as sure) so long as he doesn't turn the ball over. Solomon has still looked like a young quarterback at times late in the year, and even if he's good enough to go, it's a matter of him being able to threaten ASU with his legs. Scroggins has an arm and the athleticism to run the zone-read as well as Solomon from a running perspective, so I think it actually matters more if Solomon is healthy enough to be a dual-threat.
HOS: Who's one under-the-radar Wildcat that could tip the scales in Arizona's favor?
ADS: I'm not sure he's exactly under the radar, but safety Tra"Mayne Bondurant lost his starting job at the beginning of the season after nearly being booted from the team and has been used as a backup. Still, he's been very impactful with two picks and three forced fumbles. ASU will need to protect the ball if No. 21 is in the area.
HOS: Todd Graham is 2-0 against Rich Rodriguez. How badly does Rodriguez want a win Friday?
ADS: RichRod has sort of taken a more mild attitude toward the Duel in the Desert, at least a little more mild than most Wildcat fans would like. As you can probably imagine if this script was flipped, it'll leave a sour taste in Arizona fans' mouths if the Wildcats can't get it done, even if they still finish the year with nine wins. How badly does HE want to win? I imagine as much as Todd Graham does.
HOS: This game is always important, but this year is extra significant. This is the most important game for the Wildcats since __________?
ADS: Honestly I can't remember a more important game, but I'd have to go all the way back to the 2009 game against Oregon that Arizona lost in double-overtime (that took them out of Rose Bowl contention and was a GameDay game). It's fitting that this successful season for both Arizona and ASU comes down to this.
HOS: And finally what's your score prediction for this one?
ADS: Something awful in my objective gut tells me I have to give ASU the slightest edge, though the last two weeks of the season may have swung it more in Arizona's favor. High scoring? Maybe. Call it 42-35, Sun Devils.