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ASU Football: First look at Arizona

The Wildcats like to run the ball.

NCAA Football: Arizona at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally that time Sun Devil fans. The Territorial Cup is happening this Saturday at Arizona Stadium.

ASU is looking to keep the cup for consecutive seasons, as well as lock up second place in the South division.

Each team is coming off of tough losses, and are looking to end the regular season on a positive note.

Let’s take a look at what the Wildcats will try and do against the Sun Devils on Saturday.

Containing a dynamic running game

Both teams will want to control the ball and the clock on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore running back J.J. Taylor is a dynamic runner that can pose challenges to ASU’s defense that the Sun Devil coaching staff is well aware of.

“He’s a dominant player, really reminds me a lot of our guy (Eno Benjamin),” said ASU head coach Herm Edwards. “He’s a return guy as well, a fabulous players they run the ball really well.”

The key factor in Saturday’s tilt will be whether or not junior quarterback Khalil Tate is willing to take off and make plays with his legs. Last season, Tate had the third most rushing yards among quarterback’s in the nation but an ankle injury has hampered his production this season.

With the Sun Devils having mixed results against run offenses this season, expect Arizona to try and run the ball with authority in Tucson.

Red zone weapon

Arizona’s passing offense hasn’t been especially impressive this season, but when they get deep into their opponent’s territory they usually score touchdowns.

Redshirt senior Shawn Poindexter only has caught 36 passes this season, but 10 of those receptions have gone for UA touchdowns. Poindexter uses his tall stature at 6’5” to high point passes above smaller defensive backs.

The challenge won’t be easy for the Sun Devil secondary, we’ll have to see if Chase Lucas and Kobe Williams are up for the challenge.

An average defense at best

The Wildcats’ defense is the definition of a mixed bag. They have at times been able to limit an opponent’s rushing attack, but have shown little resistance to defending the passing game.

Arizona has only seven total interceptions on the season, and their sacks leader has only registered three-and-a-half quarterback takedowns. This should bode well for Wilkins who excels at not turning the ball over.

Sophomore linebacker Colin Schooler has been the heart and soul of the Arizona defense this season. He’s recorded 114 tackles, which is 30 more then the next closest Wildcat and leads the team in sacks and picked off two passes.

Expect the Sun Devil offense to key-in on not letting Schooler beat them.