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ASU Football: Keys to victory vs. Arizona

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Stop stuffing yourself with more food, and start stuffing your brain with info for tomorrow's game.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Can't get enough Territorial Cup analysis while you stuff your face with turkey today?

No worries. We're a day away from the annual showdown between the Sun Devils and Wildcats. Here are the keys to victory for ASU:

1.  Protect the football: It's pretty simple, and this applies to Taylor Kelly more than anyone: The Sun Devils are significantly better when Kelly doesn't have a turnover. Considering how close these games usually are, limiting possessions for the opponent is even more critical, which brings us to...

2. Create turnovers: Anu Solomon and Taylor Kelly have eerily similar stats, as outlined in Matchup of the Week. But Solomon has never played in a game like this. It's the defense that will need to put pressure on Arizona's freshman quarterback and force him into mistakes that he hasn't made all season.

3. Win the coaching battle: Contrary to popular belief, Rich Rodriguez is one heck of a coach. It turns out, so is Todd Graham. The two of them should be on the radar for every major opening in college football this winter.

But wait, you say. Wasn't Rodriguez the guy who was terrible in Michigan, so much so that fans in Ann Arbor practically begged the school to fire him? Yes, that's him.

(Sidebar: Have you seen Michigan since he left? That program has issues that run much deeper than coaching. I'll guarantee someone gives Brady Hoke another chance when he leaves Michigan, and Hoke succeeds.)

Rodriguez can coach with the best of them, but Graham has answered that call recently, too. Both coaches are creative, intense and great leaders. Whomever makes the best move on Friday will likely lead their team to victory.

4. Jaelen, Jaelen, Jaelen: Jaelen Strong should be super fresh after missing last week's game. He was a game-time decision then, and he participated in warm-ups, which means Graham basically played it safe. I'm fine with that. If this isn't Strong's biggest game of his Sun Devil career, it's going to be a huge game for everyone else, because Arizona will be quadruple teaming him.

5. Less mental errors: Both team rely heavily on freshman at key positions. Arizona at quarterback, ASU at linebacker and corner. The team whose freshman make the least amount of critical errors will likely win this game. Both teams are ranked in the top 15, and they both deserve to be. Both have quality wins against good teams. And both need to make a statement tomorrow.