Arizona State (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12) and Arizona (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12) will clash Saturday night in Tempe for the 93rd Territorial Cup.
Last year. the game delivered one of the greatest finishes in the rivalry’s history, as Arizona State rallied back from down 19 points in the fourth quarter en route to a 41-40 win over the Wildcats in Tucson.
ASU is now coming off a win against No. 6 Oregon (9-2, 7-1 Pac-12) heading into Saturday’s contest, while Arizona has lost six straight.
Arizona also has not won in Tempe since 2011. Still, head coach Herm Edwards is convinced it could be a close game even though the Devils are the heavy favorites. Here are the Wildcat players to look out for during the 2019 Duel in the Desert:
Freshman wide receiver Jamarye Joiner -- Joiner leads the team in reception yards this season with 412. He has also made three touchdown grabs. Despite being the leading receiver, Joiner has not caught a touchdown pass in over a month, and he made just one grab for 21 yards in Arizona’s last game against Utah.
Between the other receivers and J.J. Taylor, there’s only so many targets to go around. Will Joiner dominate on Saturday? Probably not, but he’s still worth keeping an eye on given the fact he has produced at times this season.
Junior running back J.J. Taylor -- After rushing for close to 1,500 yards last season (1,434), Taylor has dipped to 673 rushing yards this season. It has been a disappointing year for Taylor, who entered into this season 10th on the all-time rushing leaders list at Arizona.
Even though Taylor isn’t having the type of caliber year he had last year, he still leads the team in rushing yards. Furthermore, he is tied with senior quarterback Khalil Tate for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with five.
One area where Taylor has become more deadly is as a receiver. He has career-highs this year in both receptions (29) and receiving yards (270). Taylor rushed for 144 yards in last year’s loss to ASU, so he’s worth watching on Saturday.
Junior linebacker Colin Schooler -- After being nearly unstoppable as a sophomore, Schooler is putting together another solid season at linebacker as a junior. He has a team-leading 88 tackles on the year, and is seventh overall in the Pac-12 in tackles per game, averaging eight stops per contest.
Right now, Arizona ranks last in the conference in scoring defense, with opponents averaging 36.8 points per game against the Wildcats.
Kevin Sumlin’s squad may be playing poorly on defense collectively, but Schooler has been trying to shoulder as much of the load as possible. Look for him to be an impact player on the defensive side of things on Saturday.