The final week of Pac-12 regular season football has arrived, and the stage is set for the most vaunted collegiate sporting event in Arizona - the annual meeting between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Arizona Wildcats.
As has been the case in recent years, the 2021 Territorial Cup simply does not have a big-time rivalry game type of aura. The Sun Devils (7-4) are almost certainly headed for another middle-of-the-road bowl game, while the Wildcats (1-10) are headed for another early start to winter break. The only thing truly at stake is for ASU to avoid humiliation and extend its streak of four straight victories over the hapless Wildcats, and limiting the impact of these three players will be necessary in order to make that happen:
Junior Wide Receiver Stanley Berryhill III
Arizona’s offense has been mostly ineffective in 2021 due to a revolving door of quarterbacks and running backs, but that has not stopped Berryhill from having a quietly good junior season. The Tucson native and Mountain View High School alumnus has amassed 656 receiving yards, more than twice as many as any other Wildcats receiver, to go along with 121 rushing yards. Arizona will look to get Berryhill involved in any way possible on Saturday, and shutting him down effectively shuts down the Wildcats offense as a whole.
Senior Defensive Lineman Trevon Mason
It is no secret that ASU leans heavily on its run game, and the Sun Devils will need to win their battles at the line of scrimmage if they hope to continue their success on the ground against a tough Wildcats front seven. At 6’6” and 305 pounds, Mason is the most imposing of Arizona’s defensive linemen, and has above-average athleticism to go with his enormous stature. He will be a constant threat on runs to the right side of the offensive formation, and should draw a healthy amount of double teams on Saturday.
Sophomore Defensive Lineman Kyon Barrs
Manning the opposite side of Arizona’s interior defensive line is Barrs, a 6’3”, 295-pound sophomore who has emerged as one of the Wildcats’ best pass rushers. Barrs was dominant in Arizona’s 10-3 win over California, recording 2.5 sacks and three tackles for loss to propel the Wildcats to their lone victory of the season. Given the unpredictable nature of ASU’s offense, a similar showing from Barrs could be enough to stifle the Sun Devils and give Arizona another improbable victory.