Arizona Wildcats (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12) @ Arizona State Sun Devils (5-5, 3-4, Pac-12)
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m MT
Television: Fox Sports 1 (Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman, Bruce Feldman)
Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM | Sirus 125 (Tim Healey, Jeff Van Raaphorst, Doug Franz)
What ASU is Wearing: The Sun Devils will be wearing their Desert Hammer uniforms against the Wildcats.
All Time Series: Arizona leads the all-time series 48-39-1 against the Sun Devils. ASU has won three out of the last five meetings over Arizona and the Sun Devils are 20-18-1 in games played at Sun Devil Stadium.
Arizona in 2015: The Wildcats were not really tested out of conference, as they beat UTSA, Nevada and Northern Arizona by a combined score of 163-65.
Arizona began conference play with back-to-back losses to UCLA and Stanford by a combined 64 points. Following two victories over Oregon State and Colorado, Arizona fell to Washington State (45-42) at home and to Washington (49-3) on the road.
The Wildcats then fell to USC at the Coliseum 38-30 before most recently topping No. 10 Utah 37-30 in double overtime to improve their record to 6-5 and gain bowl eligibility.
Arizona has been hampered by injuries in 2015 as perhaps their three best players -- Scooby Wright III, Anu Soloman and Nick Wilson -- have all missed time in 2015.
ASU on Offense: It what will surely be an emotional day at Sun Devil Stadium, seniors Mike Bercovici, D.J. Foster, Gary Chambers as well as four offensive linemen will play their final home game against the Arizona Wildcats.
"I can still remember Taylor Kelly's face when he came out of that tunnel last year for the last time, and it's something that you never see it looking forward, but now that it's finally here, it is pretty amazing. We know what the mission is Saturday, and we're not going to be distracted by the emotions of senior day, but it is a pretty monumental day for us seniors," said Bercovici."
Bercovici continued his up-and-down season by following up a disastrous first half against Washington by going 12-for-14 in the game's final 30 minutes, finishing with 253 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the victory against the Huskies.
The Sun Devils outscored the Huskies 24-0 in the second half.
"Just felt good to finally start clicking on offense. But I mean, all that really is is preparation. A lot of things that we saw on film, was something that we attacked, and our offensive line did a really good job in the second half," Bercovici said. "Receivers played well. Tight ends stepped up. Obviously the running game started becoming more explosive, and once this offense gets going, we have that type of ability.
"And as a quarterback you've got to put the ball in the right spot and let your playmakers make plays. It's something we need to build on moving forward."
The Sun Devils face an Arizona defense that has been revenged by injuries all season. Scooby Wright III has gone down in two separate games this season and will not play this weekend. The Wildcat defense ranks 10th in the conference in passing defense and total defense and 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring defense.
Arizona has surrendered at least 30 points to seven of their 11 opponents this season and in six of their eight conference games.
Run the Ball Up the Middle: Arizona State is built to run the football between the tackles. They have three seniors along the interior of the offensive line and two big, bruising running backs. ASU has had success this season when they attack teams up the middle instead of trying to stretch plays outside. Arizona is missing their best defensive player, attack them up the gut.
Get Foster Involved: In the past three Territorial Cup meetings, Foster is averaging 21 touches and over 110 total yards per game. This season, he is averaging just 9.2 touches and 74.3 total yards per game. Foster will probably have a little added motivation on Saturday -- with it being his last game at Sun Devil Stadium -- so it would be smart to feed him early and often whether it be through the air or on the ground.
ASU on Defense: The ASU defense took a hit on Saturday with the loss of Jordan Simone to an ACL injury. Even though Simone took his lumps at times in pass defense, he excelled against the run and racked up 91 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four sacks and two interceptions this season.
"My heart goes out to him," said Todd Graham. "I mean, just a tremendous young man, tremendous story, walking on here, earning a scholarship, the level of play that he played at last year, and what's so tough is that he probably -- I know he had played his best three games going into this game, this last game, and obviously is just a -- I mean, epitomizes what our program -- got a heart of a champion. Just a great giver of respect, and you just hate it for him."
Not only were the Sun Devils missing Simone for most of the second half, true freshman Kareem Orr did not play against Washington, meaning ASU played with two backup safeties and a backup linebacker after Laiu Moeakiola left with an injury as well.
"Marcus Ball came in and great with a great passion and had very limited reps. Just really proud of being able to come in, too. We had to make a lot of adjustments from what they were doing game-plan wise, and Chad (Adams) and James (Johnson) both really did a great job of adjusting on the fly. All those guys I was really, really proud of," Graham said.
Arizona quarterback Anu Soloman is questionable for Saturday's contest after he suffered his second concussion of the season in Arizona's win over Utah. If Soloman cannot play, senior Jerrard Randall would get the call. Randall has only attempted 85 passes in his career and this season has 483 yards passing with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
"Both very, very athletic," Graham said about the two Arizona quarterbacks. "Obviously Solomon is a very seasoned veteran, has a tremendous athleticism. Both of them have tremendous ability to extend plays, can operate their system, understand their system very, very well.
"Both very athletic, both very hard to contain, both you have to account for, and, you know, Randall would be just a really, really explosive runner. I mean, a guy that's every bit as explosive as any tailback, so he's a challenge. Both of them are very good players."
Contain Jerrard Randall: Even though Soloman is considered questionable, it is unlikely he plays after a second concussion. Randall has rushed for more yards than he has throw for this season. The Sun Devils will bring consistent pressure and try to confuse Randall and that may leave some lanes for him to run. ASU has to be aware when the play breaks down and limit Randall in the run game.
Force Turnovers: It is a simple key but look at how the game changed when ASU began to force turnovers against Washington. This season, ASU ranks 81st in the nation in turnover margin and with Arizona potentially playing with a backup quarterback it should present ample opportunities for turnovers.
For all that was and will be written this week, it remains a rivalry game. Throw the records out the window and home field really does not matter. This game will come down to how makes the fewer mistakes and who executes better.
Arizona State is our pick for a few reasons. Arizona is going to be playing without its best defensive player (Wright) and potentially its best offensive player (Soloman). Randall has been up-and-down throwing the football and the Sun Devils actually played its best half of football on defense despite losing Simone and Moeakiola.
Also, it is Senior Day at ASU and Graham and this program take that very seriously.
Prediction: ASU 34, Arizona 27