Five takeways from the Arizona State Sun Devils' 52-37 win over the Arizona Wildcats:
1. Crisis Adverted.
ASU's 2015 campaign will still be viewed as a disappointment for years to come, but won't be regarded as a total failure — all because the Sun Devils got their season-defining win against their rival, the Arizona Wildcats. The Sun Devils now have the Territorial Cup replica (fun fact, the original is kept in the winning's school libraries and is too old to be out in public) presented at the Carson Student-Athlete Center and have a ticket punched to some neat, consolation bowl.
Had the Sun Devils lost, well, this season would have been erased from every ASU fan's memory.
2. ASU should never go away from "Thunder" and "Lightning."
Another game, another big game on the ground from both Kalen Ballage ("Thunder") and Demario Richard ("Lightning"). Each tailback eclipsed 100 rushing yards and have been threats for much of their game. Ballage is only getting better each game after a slow start to the season after dealing with mononucleosis, and Demario Richard's life seems to be getting easier. It'll be interesting to see if they get more touches per game next season, especially if a dual-threat quarterback like Manny Wilkins or Bryce Perkins line up under center next season.
3. Devin Lucien has proven his worth.
While ASU's receiving game has hardly been more than ho-hum all season, Devin Lucien has boosted the Sun Devils' passing game with his experience he brought with him to Tempe after playing three seasons with the UCLA Bruins. Lucien exploded for nine catches, 190 yards and a touchdown good enough to earn himself the Territorial Cup Bob Moran MVP award. It wasn't an easy season for Lucien, but his presence became reasons why ASU's passing game could sometimes work as shown on Saturday.
4. Kareem Orr is ASU's next great ball-hawk.
Arizona State has produced some outstanding defensive backs recently, like Omar Bolden, Osahon Irabor, Alden Darby, Robert Nelson, Jr. and Damarious Randall, and Kareem Orr could very well be in that echelon once his ASU career is over. Orr has recorded a pick in his last three games, with Saturday's pick-six being the dagger for the 2015 Territorial Cup. It seems like opposing quarterbacks have conveniently thrown the ball to Orr the last several games, but has Orr set an ASU record with five interceptions in a freshman season. He's is just wrapping up his true freshman season and has ways to go before he becomes a lockdown safety, but ASU fans should certainly be excited about the defense's future with Orr.
5. Matt Haack has certainly been one of ASU's best players best season.
ASU punter Matt Haack had another stellar game on special teams, averaging 43.5 yards on six punts and tied a career long with a 65-yarder. What's more impressive about his game is where his five punts ended up — Arizona's 28-, 14-, 8-, 3- and 6-yard lines. After those punts, two ended with Arizona punting, one resulting in a fumble, one field goal and one touchdown. Haack's precision near opponents' goal lines really gives the defense a lot of relief while forcing other offenses to start with bad field position. Haack and new assistant Shawn Slocum are the two biggest factors to ASU's improved special teams play this season.