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ASU Football: First look at the Arizona Wildcats

Let's look at what's coming for Tempe from Tucson...

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Head Coach - Rich Rodriguez

The man known colloquially as "RichRod" is wrapping up his fourth season as the Arizona Wildcats' head coach, and has been in Tucson for the same amount of time as Todd Graham coached in Tempe. It's always worth mentioning this time of year that Rodriguez gave Graham his first college coaching job in 2001 as a linebackers coach for the West Virginia Mountaineers, and even promoted Graham as co-defensive coordinator the following season. Rodriguez sports a 32-19 record at Arizona, which is just 1.5 worse than Graham's 33-17 mark at ASU.

Rodriguez had established himself as a household name in the college football world prior to his arrival in Tucson, experiencing much success in West Virginia that included a win in the 2005 Sugar Bowl before failing miserably with the Michigan Wolverines between 2008-10.

Fun fact: Rodriguez enjoys dressing up as a cowboy for Wildcat promos:

2015 season

ASU wasn't the only team in the state of Arizona that's been going through a rollercoaster season this year. After breezing through a ho-hum nonconference slate that included the UTSA Roadrunners, Nevada Wolf Pack and the NAU Lumberjacks, the Wildcats were quickly hit by reality by suffering a 56-30 home loss to the then-No. 9 UCLA Bruins, then a 55-17 loss to the then-No. 18 Stanford Cardinal. Arizona built some momentum by beating up the Oregon State Beavers 44-7 and winning a close 38-31 game against the Colorado Buffaloes.

A three-game losing streak mounted against the Washington State Cougars, Washington Huskies and the USC Trojans that had Wildcat fans longing for the impending basketball season, but Arizona played spoiler last week by upsetting the then-No. 10 Utah Utes 37-30 that ended any chance of the Pac-12 sending a team to the College Football Playoff.

And that brings us to Saturday's Territorial Cup matchup.

Key Players

QB Anu Solomon — Fans on both sides of this matchup should pay close attention to Solomon's health this week after the sophomore starter suffered a concussion against Utah and is listed as "day-to-day." This is Solomon's second concussion he suffered this season after receiving one early in the UCLA game that had also sidelined him against Stanford. Solomon's 2015 numbers aren't nearly impressive as his standout freshman season, but his 62.7 completion percentage is an improvement and had steadily progressed following his first concussion.

RB Nick Wilson — Another offensive standout plagued by injuries, Wilson ran for six touchdowns and averaged 121.0 rushing yards in his first five games before suffering a hamstring injury against Oregon State and later sustained foot and knee injuries. After missing the Washington and USC games, Wilson did come back against Utah, but had just 27 rushing yards on six carries.

S Will Parks — The senior safety has been the Wildcats' most prolific tackler in Scooby Wright III's absence with 38 tackles, along with 4.5 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles for the season.

We'll see if Parks shares a special moment with Saturday's referees after doing this last week: