It’s officially rivalry week in the Grand Canyon state. Although both Arizona State and Arizona are winless in 2020, the Territorial Cup game will still hold the prize of state bragging rights, and it’s not a contest taken lightly by either side.
The Wildcats (0-4) have been competitive in two of their four losses this season, led by head coach Kevin Sumlin. Here are a few key Arizona players to watch out for this weekend in Tucson.
Quarterback Grant Gunnell
Arizona’s signal-caller has been serviceable after taking over for Khalil Tate as a starter. The sophomore has thrown for 547 yards with a 67 percent completion rate and a TD/INT ratio of 6/1.
Gunnell has only played two complete games, as he was knocked out of the game against UCLA on the first play with a shoulder injury, one that would keep him out for last week’s contest against Colorado.
In a home loss to USC in the season opener, Gunnell nearly led the Wildcats to a stunning upset victory. If Gunnell isn’t able to play against ASU, Gilbert native and sophomore Will Plummer will start his second straight game.
Quarterback Will Plummer
In the absence of Gunnell, Plummer has led the Wildcat offense in losses to UCLA and Colorado. His numbers are modest, throwing for 305 yards without a touchdown, and three interceptions.
As is the case with most backup QBs, the running game has been heavily leaned on during Plummer’s time under center.
Linebacker Anthony Pandy
Perhaps the Wildcats’ most impactful player on either side of the ball, Pandy leads the team in tackles with 28, and interceptions with two. His big tackling numbers are largely a product of Arizona’s inability to stuff the run.
In their last two games, the defense has allowed the opposing back to log a 200 and 300 yard game. ASU’s DeaMonte Trayanum is next in-line to take a swing at this porous unit. Aside from Pandy, they’ve been plagued by tackling issues and inability to force turnovers.
Running back Gary Brightwell
The Wildcat senior RB has been the team’s feature back in 2020. Brightwell has rushed for 341 yards in four games, finding the end zone just once.
Brightwell has rushed well in Tucson this season, going over 100 yards in home losses against USC and Colorado.
When the Sun Devils come to town Saturday, Brightwell will look to cap his Arizona career with another big day on the ground.
If the Sun Devils are able to keep these three in check, their hopes of keeping the Territorial Cup in Tempe will be much more clear.