The 91st installment of the Territorial Cup couldn’t have gotten off to a more troublesome start for the Arizona State Sun Devils.
On the back of three total touchdowns by quarterback Brandon Dawkins, the Arizona Wildcats lead the Sun Devils, 28-14, in front of 50,197 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz., entering halftime.
Dawkins has accounted for 98 of the Wildcats’ 186 total rushing yards, including a 71-yard touchdown run on the game’s third play from scrimmage.
The Sun Devils managed to draw even thanks to a scoop-and-score by junior linebacker Koron Crump, who returned a JoJo Wicker forced fumble 42 yards to even the game with 7:49 left in the first quarter.
Aside from the forced turnover, however, the Sun Devils defense has stood no chance against the Wildcats’ offense, powered by Dawkins’ running ability.
The senior broke three tackles on his way to a 10-yard score to reclaim Arizona’s advantage, which the Wildcats have yet to concede despite having entered the contest having not led for over 328 minutes of allotted game time.
After the Sun Devils failed to convert on a fourth-and-3 attempt, a busted coverage in the ASU secondary left senior wideout Nate Phillips wide open, allowing Dawkins to connect with him for a 64-yard score to take a 21-7 lead.
With seven minutes left in the half, the Wildcats extended their lead to 28-7 when running back Zach Green powered in for a one-yard score. Sun Devils starting safety Armand Perry was ejected from the game during the series for slapping an Arizona player on the helmet, while starting cornerback Kareem Orr was out during the drive and isn’t expected to return to the contest.
Still, the Sun Devils aren’t completely out of it.
Just ahead of the break, ASU manufactured a 13-play, 94-yard drive capped by a 21-yard pass to Tim White, setting the score at 28-14 entering halftime.