Territorial Cup rewind 10 years ago: Arizona 31, Arizona State 27

Jeff Metcalfe
Arizona Republic

After debuting with a 10-win season, Dennis Erickson had minimal success at Arizona State until 2011.

The Sun Devils were 6-2, ranked No. 20 (Associated Press) through October and in contention to win the inaugural Pac-12 South title.

Then, in results and discipline, it all fell apart.

ASU dropped away games to UCLA (29-28) and Washington State (37-27) ahead of the Territorial Cup in one of the rare years when the rivalry game wasn’t the regular season finale.

Arizona was in the midst of a disastrous season that cost Mike Stoops his job after a 1-5 start. The Wildcats, under interim coach Tim Kish, were 2-8 when they came to Sun Devil Stadium for what was widely expected to be ASU’s second straight rivalry win and third overall under Erickson.

ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler passes as UA linebacker Derek Earls (left) and defensive end Dan Pettinato (90) defend during the first quarter of the Territorial Cup between ASU and UA at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe on Saturday, November 19, 2011.

In a game matching future NFL quarterbacks Brock Osweiler and Nick Foles, ASU trailed 14-0 but forged ahead 21-17 at halftime and 27-17 early in the fourth quarter.

Foles led UA on a 94-yard touchdown drive culminating with a 33-yard, tackle-breaking reception by Gino Crump. Foles was out of the game with an injury when the Wildcats went ahead 31-27 with 5:18 left on a 23-yard pass from backup QB Bryson Beirne to Juron Criner.

ASU has two more chances, the first ending with an interception and the second on the UA 15-yard line after consecutive incompletions. The 31-27 score was the final.

“At the end of the day, it’s my job to get the offense in the end zone,” Osweiler said. “It’s my fault, I didn’t do that. We tried to find the team from the beginning of the year, find the team that had all the confidence in the summer workouts. I don’t know what happened.”

Erickson said defensively that his team had “one of the poorest tackling efforts I’ve ever seen.”

Arizona followed up with a narrow win over Louisiana to finish 4-8 then turned to Rich Rodriguez as its next coach.

ASU lost again, 47-38 to California, six days later. Erickson was fired but coached in the Las Vegas Bowl, a 56-24 loss to Boise State ending a 6-7 season. Todd Graham then replaced Erickson.

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