The loss brings a damper to what should have, could have, might have been a stellar season. The Stanford loss, the Oregon State loss and the showing against the Sun Devils on Friday all represented how close Arizona was, with just one more win, might've been a storybook season.
Luckily, a senior class led by Scott and an injured Dan Buckner can salvage the disappointment with a bowl game on the horizon.
Matt Scott had three touchdowns and Ka'Deem Carey turned in another great game (172 yards on 25 carries, 6.9 average), and the Arizona defense surprised many with their ability to keep ASU under control for three quarters. Despite that, three interceptions and a fumble from Scott left ASU with more momentum than the Wildcats could handle.
The three interceptions all resulted in touchdowns, while the two ASU fumbles recovered by Arizona only resulted in two field goals. In a rivalry game with huge momentum swings, that was more than enough to set the Wildcats up for the loss.
The Sun Devils finish their season 7-5, and do it in a way that's particularly pleasing over at House of Sparky:
Coming into this season, fans had their doubts about this team being able to turn around the program in one year under the leadership of head coach Todd Graham. The ASU student body wanted a .500 record and their school not only beat that, but they did it against their cross-state rival.
It isn't just a victory for Graham, they point out, but one for recruiting and therefore the program as a whole. They have quotes from a number of players, including safety Keelan Johnson, who had one of ASU's three interceptions on the night. "For our last time playing U of A," Johnson said, "and going out with these seniors and this is my last time playing with my teammates was a great feeling."
Johnson's interception came early in the game, but a late pick by Robert Nelson helped the Sun Devils put the game away. Nelson grabbed a Matt Scott pass at the ASU 32 and ran it back 66 yards, setting up a 2-yard drive by the Sun Devils that put them up by 14 with less than 3 minutes left to play.
On Friday, one of the longest-standing rivalries in college football will add a new chapter, when Arizona State takes on Arizona for the "Territorial Cup." It will be the 85th match-up between the two, with the series dating back all the way to 1899.