TEMPE, Ariz.—Brandon Dawkins headed to the Sun Devil Stadium opposing locker room at halftime and threw up.
If the pressure of being inserted at quarterback during the Territorial Cup wasn’t enough, the redshirt freshman third-stringer also had to deal with a stomach bug.
So, Dawkins did what he had to do.
Then he came out in the second half and nearly put Arizona in a position to steal a rivalry win away from ASU.
In the end, Dawkins and the Wildcats came up a few big plays short.
ASU took the Cup from Arizona with a 52-37 victory Saturday afternoon.
"I said we had a chance," Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We had to get a play or two in the end. They made it and we didn't."
Down 31-10 at halftime, backup quarterback Brandon Dawkins mounted a second-half comeback to put the Wildcats back within one possession.
Arizona’s first two scores of the half came off field goals from Casey Skowron—one a 37-yarder, the other from 46 yards out.
Then, late in the quarter, with Arizona backed up near its own end zone, Dawkins led Griffey with a downfield pass. The junior receiver juked around a few Sun Devils defenders, avoided tackles and eventually ran 95 yards to the house for a touchdown.
The score pushed ASU’s lead down to an eight-point margin with 46 seconds left in the quarter.
To start the fourth quarter, the two teams traded touchdowns to put the score at 38-30 ASU with 6:50 remaining.
Arizona had a chance to tie the game late, but Dawkins’s heroics ended on a pick-six interception that pushed ASU’s lead to 45-30 with 3:33 to go. For good measure, the Sun Devils returned another touchdown to the house a minute later, sealing the victory.
A Dawkins touchdown run on the final Arizona drive proved fruitless.
"Thank you Lord for all that you have blessed me with," Dawkins said on Twitter. "Just gotta get better from here."
The Wildcats got off to an ominous start when, on the opening drive, receiver Samajie Grant left the game with an apparent concussion. Grant was taken to the locker room. He did not return in the second half.
After Arizona and ASU traded a handful of scoreless drives to start the game, the Sun Devils got on the board with 3:01 to go in the first quarter, when running back Demario Richard ran the ball into the end zone.
On ASU’s next drive, a 59-yard touchdown pass from quarter Mike Bercovici to Devin Lucien put the home team up 14-0 with a little over a minute to go in the opening quarter.
With Arizona’s offense slugging along—the UA went empty-handed on its first five drives—it was a play by the defense that at last put the Wildcats on the scoreboard.
In the opening minute of the second quarter, Arizona cornerback Cam Denson picked off Bercovici and returned a 21-yard interception to the end zone.
However, the momentum was short-lasted as ASU responded with a 10-play, 78-yard touchdown drive.
With 10:33 to go in the half, the Sun Devils led 21-7.
Following the ASU touchdown, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez put in Dawkins.
Dawkins put into the red zone before the Wildcats eventually settled for a short field goal by Casey Skowron to make it 21-10.
ASU scored the last 10 points of the first; a 41-yard touchdown pass from Bercovici to Jalen Harvey put the Sun Devils up 28-10 before ASU kicked a field goal at the end of the half to push the lead to 21 points.