It wasn’t a 70-7 drubbing, but the Arizona Wildcats were once again on the wrong side of history Saturday afternoon during their 38-15 loss to in-state foe Arizona State in Tempe.
For the fifth year in a row, the Territorial Cup will remain with the Sun Devils. The last time Arizona beat ASU was in 2016, when the Wildcats won 56-35 without attempting a pass in the second half.
‘We’re going to combat’
When UA head coach Jedd Fisch stepped into the media room at the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility on Monday afternoon for his pre-Territorial Cup press conference, he donned an Army green long-sleeved camouflage T-shirt and said, “I decided to wear camo for you guys. We’re going to combat.”
The camo look carried over to Saturday’s game, with the Wildcats wearing the military-inspired “dress whites” they wore against Utah earlier this month. The all-white uniforms featured navy blue shoulder pads, red digital camo numbers and a “355th Fighter Wing” patch on the pants, while ASU wore mustard-colored helmets with the vintage Sparky logo.
It was the first time since 2017 that Arizona wore white uniforms against the Sun Devils. During the Kevin Sumlin era, both schools mutually agreed to wear home uniforms for the rivalry game.
The big number
211 — Arizona and ASU combined to commit 211 yards worth of penalties. Arizona was flagged 12 times for 92 yards, while ASU was flagged nine times for 119 yards.
A special (teams) number
12 — Arizona kicker Tyler Loop’s career at the UA doesn’t have any blemishes so far, after the second-year freshman went a perfect 3 for 3 in field goals Saturday — all in the first half.
Used primarily as the 40-yards-and-in kicker, Loop is a perfect 12 for 12 in his career at Arizona.
Future Wildcats fall in Southern Section showdown
Arizona’s future played on national TV Friday night, when seventh-ranked Anaheim Servite fell to top-ranked Mater Dei 27-7 in the CIF-Southern Section Division I championship game.
Future Arizona quarterback Noah Fifita ended his Servite career 21-9 as the Friars’ starter, and completed 489 passes for 7,188 yards, 82 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Fifita’s teammates and future UA roommates Keyan Burnett, Arizona’s first four-star tight end since 2007, and linebacker Jacob Manu also ended their high school careers at Servite. Burnett and Fifita will graduate from Servite in December and enroll in the UA this spring.
Locally, Arizona has a few in-state recruits competing in the Open Division playoffs: Chandler defensive tackle Isaiah Johnson and the Wolves face Peoria Liberty next Friday, while three-star offensive lineman Grayson Stovall and defensive end Russell Davis battle Scottsdale Saguaro. Saguaro is the home of former UA commit Tristan Monday, an edge rusher.
ASU groundskeeper retires after 37 years
Saturday marked Brian Johnson’s final game as ASU’s groundskeeper after 37 years.
Johnson is known for bringing an artistic flare to the midfield design at Sun Devil Stadium.
He was honored following the conclusion of the first quarter. His final piece of field art: Sparky’s face in front of a black state of Arizona with his signature in the bottom right-hand corner of his masterpiece.
Johnson tweeted that it was “a blessing to work my whole career at ASU.”
“Thanks to all the former student workers who traveled back to help paint,” he said.
Sign of the game
“My sister is dumb.”
— An ASU fan’s sign, with an arrow pointing at a family member wearing a Wildcats hat.