The Territorial Cup — college football’s oldest rivalry trophy — will play its 96th meeting Friday in Tucson.
While the Wildcats hold an all-time lead of 49-45-1 dating back to the beginning of the rivalry in 1899, the Sun Devils have been the more favorable team of the millennium in recent years with their 15-7 record since the turn of the millennium.
The latest issue comes as both teams miss bowl season, with the Wildcats (4-7) hoping to wrap up 2022 and call it a turning point. For the Sun Devils (3-8), it’s looking ahead to an offseason where a coach search aims to refresh sentiment around the program.
Here’s a look at the last six Territorial Cup football games played in Tucson from 2010:
2020: ASU 70, Arizona 7th
It was December 11, and due to the pandemic that canceled part of the season — and a COVID-19 outbreak that hit ASU particularly hard after the season started late — teams went out with a combined 0- 6 record on.
Arizona State kick returner DJ Taylor returned the opening kickoff for 100 yards and a score. Then a fumble after two Arizona plays of scrimmage led to another Sun Devil touchdown less than a minute into the game, and from there — just look at the result, man.
The Wildcats lost three more fumbles that day and threw three interceptions between three quarterbacks that were playing.
The Sun Devils saw quarterback Jayden Daniels go 9-of-11 for 203 yards and two touchdowns, but the ASU tried to keep the quick blowout civil. Arizona State rushed 50 times for 259 yards (5.2 yards per carry), with Rachaad White recording three points and 133 yards.
None of the Sun Devils’ scoring runs lasted more than seven games.
The overall result was Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin fired hours after the loss to end the year 0-5 (a final game against Cal was called off).
ASU won its last game of the year at Oregon State, 2-2.
2018: ASU 41, Arizona 40
The clash between the two rivals at the Old Pueblo was one of the greatest fights of all time.
With Arizona State trailing 40-21 in the fourth quarter, the game seemed all but over and the trophy should return to Tucson.
But the Sun Devils managed to get 20 unanswered points to take a one-point lead and set up the Wildcats with one last opportunity to kick a game-winning 45-yard field goal.
Unfortunately for Arizona, the kick along with the team’s bowl chances sailed far this season as the loss brought the Wildcats’ record to 5-7 while the 7-5 Sun Devils went into the Las Vegas Bowl.
2016: Arizona 56, ASU 35
For those who may not remember, this can be most simply referred to as “the game in progress”.
That’s because Arizona made just three pass attempts out of a whopping eight in a game in which the Wildcats scored 56 points.
How is that even possible, you might ask?
In then-head coach Todd Graham’s last game in Tucson, the Sun Devils allowed an amazing 515 rushing yards on 46 attempts (11.2 per carry).
The Wildcats had three 100-yard rushers that night: Brandon Dawkins (183), Samajie Grant (176) and Zach Green (126).
2014: Arizona 42, ASU 35
The 2014 Territorial Cup had an extra ingredient.
Due to UCLA’s loss to Stanford that day, the game became (unofficially) Pac-12 South’s “championship game.”
In a back-and-forth affair with fan favorites like Arizona’s Scooby Wright and ASU’s DJ Foster, the Wildcats eventually prevailed for their only Pac-12 championship game in school history.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they failed to beat the Oregon Ducks a second time this season and fell to second place in the first college football playoffs.
Arizona would then face the Boise State Broncos on New Year’s Eve in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl.
2012: ASU 41, Arizona 34
The 2012 version was the first meeting between former Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez and former ASU coach Todd Graham.
In another classic Territorial Cup matchup, the Sun Devils clinched victory thanks to two big turnovers and a blocked punt, all of which occurred in the fourth quarter.
2010: ASU 30, Arizona 29
In arguably the craziest Territorial Cup football game of the decade, Arizona State managed to pull off a win under the most unlikely of circumstances.
With 30 seconds left in the game and Arizona trailing 20-14, the Wildcats clinched the winning score and sent out their kicker for a potentially game-winning extra point.
Unfortunately for Alex Zendejas, his kick was blocked, forcing extra time between the two bitter domestic rivals.
But things would only get worse for Zendejas and the Wildcats.
After an Arizona touchdown to reduce the Sun Devils’ lead to just one, ASU would earn the game win by blocking another extra point.