Eds. Note: This is the second-half instant recap on top of the first half for the Territorial Cup. Stay tuned to House of Sparky for our full game recap with quotes.
As the second half got underway, Arizona punched ASU in the gut. They started with the ball and moved across midfield on a 15-yard catch on 3rd and 11 by Austin Hill. He connected with Anu Solomon again for a 10-yard catch down to the ASU 35-yard line. He found David Richards for 35 yards down to the one-yard line and Nick Wilson punched it in from one yard out to give Arizona the 28-21 lead.
The Sun Devils started their next drive on the 25-yard line and passes completed to Cameron Smith and D.J. Foster for 14 yards and 16 yards respectively helped move ASU down to the Arizona 28-yard line. Zane Gonzalez then hooked a field goal wide left from 45 yards out, keeping the Territorial Cup score as is.
It wouldn't be long before Nick Wilson broke out a 72-yard touchdown run to put the Wildcats up 25-21 on the next drive. ASU got the ball back looking to counter but couldn't. Demario Richard garnered 15 yards rushing followed by an 8-yard gain by Foster and a pass interference drawn by Jaelen Strong gave ASU the ball at the Arizona 43-yard line. Taylor Kelly then took two sacks. Arizona had made it out to their own 40 yard line with a first down but a hands to the face penalty by Cayleb Jones stunted the drive.
ASU would start their next drive at their own 13-yard line with Mike Bercovici coming into the game at quarterback. He mustered a 15-yard pass to Foster but a few overthrows led to the third quarter coming to an end with Arizona still on top 35-21. As the fourth quarter began, the Sun Devils forced a three and out. A 21-yard completion to Cameron Smith and a pass interference call helped ASU get deep into Arizona territory. A 10-yard rush by Richard got the Sun Devils down to the 1-yard line where Bercovici connected with Kody Kohl for a touchdown to make it 35-28 in favor of the Wildcats.
Arizona found their way out to midfield before they were forced to punt. It landed inside the ASU 10-yard line. On the second play from scrimmage Jourdan Grandon back to the Sun Devils' 16-yard line. Solomon then found Samajie Grant from 21 yards out for a touchdown, putting Arizona up 42-28 with 8:31 to play.
Bercovici then led ASU on a drive which ended in a De'Marieya Nelson touchdown catch. He converted a 4th and four to Foster in the middle of the drive which kept the drive alive for the Sun Devils. Bercovici also connected with Gary Chambers on a 24-yard pass on the drive to make it 42-35. Arizona conservatively ran the ball and quickly punted it back to the Sun Devils. Kyle Middlebrooks returned the ball out to the Arizona 43-yard line. ASU got a pass interference call for a first down and completed a 9-yard pass to Foster across midfield. But at the 40-yard line with 1:07 to play, Bercovici threw wide of Strong which allowed the Wildcats to run out the clock for a win.
Looking to jump out to an early lead in hostile territory, Arizona State won the toss and elected to send out its offense on the field first. However, the Sun Devils' plan of getting out to a quick start against its arch-rival did not come to fruition, as Arizona's Scooby Wright chased down Taylor Kelly from behind and stripped him of the ball. Anthony Lopez scooped up the ball and rumbled into the end zone for a lightning-quick touchdown to put Arizona up 7-0.
In its second drive, the ASU offense found a rhythm, and Deantre Lewis' 23-yard carry set the Sun Devils up in Arizona territory. But the Sun Devil drive stalled as Kelly overthrew Jaelen Strong on a slant route that would've converted a 3rd and 5, and Arizona State punted the ball back to the Wildcats, bringing out the Sun Devil defense and Arizona offense for the first time.
While the Arizona defense had already forced a scoop-and-score, the Sun Devils defense made an impressive statement of its own on its first drive. Salamo Fiso and Antonio Longino snuffed out a pair of Arizona runs, and then cornerback Armond Perry came off the edge on third down and sacked Anu Solomon for a loss of 15 yards back to the Arizona 3-yard line. Arizona punted, sending the Sun Devil offense back on the field.
Strong, who missed last week's win over Washington State, made a huge third-down catch to move the chains and set up the Sun Devils near the Wildcat goal-line. Arizona State ran the ball on four straight plays, and was stopped short by the Wildcats on all four, turning the ball over on downs and wasting an opportunity to tie the game.
With the Arizona State offense sputtering, the Sun Devil defense took it upon itself to make plays. And that's what they did, as Demetrious Cherry picked up an Solomon fumbled snap and stretched two yards over the goal line for a Sun Devil touchdown, tying the game at 7 points apiece.
The Sun Devil defense that had played with discipline through the majority of the first quarter made a costly sloppy play on the Wildcats' next drive. Solomon threw to a well-covered Samajie Grant, and Arizona State's Damarious Randall tried to undercut it and intercept the ball. He whiffed though, and Grant sprinted 69 yards through a flurry of Sun Devil defenders en route to a touchdown that put Arizona back in front 14-7.
Arizona State's next drive stalled as Kelly overthrew Strong on what would've been a walk-in touchdown, but Kelly at least partially compensated for it by sending a beautiful pooch punt down to the Arizona 2-yard line. James Johnson's huge sack of Solomon sent the Wildcats back eight yards, and the Arizona defense held to force an Arizona punt, as the Wildcats led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Strong's 50-yard diving reception set Arizona State up in the red zone, and Kelly's quarterback keeper gave the Sun Devils a first down at the Arizona 3-yard line, and Strong's one-handed grab in the back of the end zone on second down tied the game at 14-14.
True freshman Tashon Smallwood made his first indent on the Arizona State-Arizona rivalry on Arizona's next drive, stuffing Nick Wilson on a 3rd and 2 to force another Wildcat punt. Working from its own 10-yard line, Arizona State benefited from a pass interference call on Arizona, but another overthrow from Kelly wasted an open opportunity and Arizona State was forced to punt again. Matt Haack had his punt blocked though, and it only travelled seven yards past the line of scrimmage.
The Sun Devil defense thought it had bailed its anemic offense out again as Lloyd Carrington's shoelace tackle forced a 4th and 1. But Arizona's Wilson took an inside handoff on fourth down, bounced it to the outside and ran untouched 21 yards for a Wildcat touchdown.
Kelly took a sack on third down to seemingly end Arizona State's next drive, but Arizona's DaVonte' Neal muffed Haack's punt and long snapper Mitchell Fraboni recovered at the Wildcat 12-yard line. Three plays later, Kelly found Richard out of the backfield for a walk-in 7-yard score that tied the game at 21-21 with under 30 seconds to play. Arizona got the ball back with 17 seconds left, and took a knee to send the game to halftime.