Arizona football drops another Territorial Cup
Arizona football dropped its third straight Territorial Cup as it fell to ASU 24-14 Saturday night in Tempe.
The Wildcats will head home to Tucson tonight with an astounding 4-8 record and finish the season on a seven-game losing streak. J.J. Taylor and Khalil Tate finish their Arizona careers without ever beating their in-state rivals, and even though Arizona had a lead at halftime for the third straight year, it couldn’t finish off ASU in the second half.
The game started off slow for both teams with neither being able to get points. Head Coach Kevin Sumlin called it a “field possession half,” and in the first quarter neither team was able to score. Arizona did miss a field goal early on though, and unfortunately for the Wildcats, it wouldn’t be the only miss.
Midway through the second quarter, the Wildcats were able to figure it out offensively and find the end zone. Jamarye Joiner reeled in a pass from Tate and went 48 yards for the first touchdown of the game. After the defense was able to stop the Sun Devils, Tate and company got the ball back, looking to add more points.
As the Wildcats were getting deeper into ASU territory, a miscommunication from Tate and one of his receivers caused an easy interception for ASU and you could feel the momentum switch. ASU went down the field and added another field goal to make it a one-point game right before halftime.
“The first one was just a miscommunication,” Tate said. “The receiver got a different call than I did.”
As good as the first half was for the Wildcats, the second half was a complete flip. Arizona State started with the ball and immediately went and scored its first touchdown. This would be the story of the half for Arizona as they eventually went down 24-7.
This was the first time in Tate’s career that he threw three interceptions, and arguably none of them were his fault. The first two were miscommunications while the last one just hit Bam Smith in his hands and bounced straight up in the air.
So what’s next for Tate moving forward?
"Get back to Tucson, relax a little bit,” Tate said. “Go back home and start training for the draft."
Taylor and Tate will move forward from their Arizona careers, but it will be Sumlin who will return for at least another year as Arizona’s head coach. Athletic Director Dave Heeke said the Wildcats are sticking with Sumlin.
“I want to make it real clear as we embark on this year three of this rebuild program,” Heeke said. “Coach Sumlin is our football coach.”
Sumlin and his other coaches are already out recruiting today as they get ready for the early signing period on December 18.