Roundtable Predictions for the 91st Territorial Cup

TEMPE, AZ  —  The Blaze Sports Staff give their assessments, thoughts and predictions for this afternoon’s Territorial Cup between Arizona and Arizona State.

Michael Baron // Beat Writer for Blaze Sports

The 91st Territorial Cup is finally upon us as two teams that can’t stand each other meet on the battlefield in Tempe. Whenever Arizona football is talked about, sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate is in the conversation. The Wildcats this season have fed off of Tate’s successes as he can beat opponents with both the arm and the legs.

Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin (R) celebrates with his teammates after a touchdown vs Colorado // (Photo: John Mendoza / Blaze Sports)

Despite ASU’s defense likely bolding and italicizing Tate’s name this week of practice, I expect him to keep the Wildcats in the game. Looking back at this season for the Sun Devils, it has certainly had its ups and downs (remember Washington? Utah?). Saturday’s setting is also Senior Day, as Sun Devil Stadium gives one final sendoff to the senior class.

So how can ASU beat U of A?

It starts with the seniors. Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage have been the main go-to running backs for ASU’s offense and I believe the running game is the key to an ASU win. Last week in a 48-28 win over the Wildcats, Oregon 49 rushing attempts for a net total of 355 yards. The Ducks attempted just 21 throws. Manny Wilkins and the offense have been solid for most of 2017. Last year’s Territorial Cup left a disappointing taste in the mouths of Sun Devil fans.

This year, however, I expect a different writing of the script. Both defenses will have their struggles, both offenses will produce, but with a solid rushing attack, quality play from Manny Wilkins and a quick start, I expect ASU to send its seniors and the Maroon & Gold faithful at Sun Devil Stadium off with taking back the coveted Territorial Cup.

PREDICTION: Arizona 34, Arizona State 41

Harley Yearout // Beat Writer for Blaze Sports

Well, the regular season had its ups and downs, didn’t it? But for this game, the Territorial Cup, all records go out the window. Last year, a struggling Arizona team defeated Arizona State 56-35 in Tucson. This year, ASU has a solid shot at revenge on their home turf. With Manny Wilkins at the helm and Demario Richard racking up big numbers, this offense has a chance to come up big against the Arizona defense.

On the other hand, Khalil Tate could, and probably will, give ASU fits on defense. So who wins the offensive battle? Since 2013, the winner of the Territorial Cup has been the home team. Not only is ASU at home, but it is also senior night. For Demario Richard, that means a chance to break into top 5 in Sun Devil rushing history with 8 yards. Look for ASU to come out and win this one for their seniors, and perhaps, Todd Graham and his future.

PREDICTION: Arizona 38, Arizona State 42

Chris Cadeau // Broadcaster and Asst. Sports Director

Two words.

Khalil Tate.

That is all.

PREDICTION: Arizona 45, Arizona State 42

Braiden Bell // Asst. Sports Director

Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage has struggled over the last two games but looks to turn it around this afternoon vs Arizona // (Photo: John Mendoza / Blaze Sports)

Before I start I’d like to say with all due respect to my fellow roundtable members, your analysis is irrelevant because in this rivalry you must throw out the stats, gimmicks and tendencies.

With that being said I guess I’ll throw in my useless analysis too. One thing is certain and that is the fact that Arizona still will have a quarterback named Khalil Tate running wild. But even with that stud wearing navy and red, I feel like Arizona State will finish the game with the Territorial Cup in their hands.

The Devils will play a ball control style of offense and force a couple of turnovers. Add in a fantastic environment at Sun Devil Stadium and that is a combination for an Arizona State victory.

PREDICTION: Arizona 35, Arizona State 41

Eliav Gabay // Asst. Sports Director

The are two words that will strike fear into the hearts of all Sun Devil fans this weekend: Khalil Tate.

The stud Wildcat quarterback is leading the team in rushing yards by almost 700 yards, rushing touchdowns with 11, and is one of the top candidates to win the Heisman this year. The success of the University of Arizona Football program has lived and died on the abilities of their Sophomore QB and he’s been absolutely terrific.

With that said, you never know which Arizona State team will decide to show up. Demario Richard has been running like a man on a mission. If they can get Richard going early, it’ll open up the opportunities for Manny Wilkins to get into a rhythm with his wide-outs.

The Sun Devil defensive line will have to play its best game yet facing the creativity Tate possesses. Also – it’s the Territorial Cup, so even the most unforeseen result is possible. Unfortunately for ASU fans, the four-year streak of the home team winning the Territorial Cup will end this Saturday.

Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins celebrates a touchdown with his teammates // (Photo: John Mendoza / Blaze Sports)

PREDICTION: Arizona 40, Arizona State 27

Weston DeWitt // Broadcaster and Sports Director

We all know where it is when it comes to the Arizona Wildcats. It’s all about Khalil Tate. How in the world is ASU going to stop this prolific young quarterback? With Arizona in sixth in the nation in points per game (46), the key is stoping Tate, no discussion needed.

Demario Richard is in another stratosphere right now but running roughshod for the last few games. Wilkins stays consistent in a pocket an the offensive line gives him time, the Devils will put up their points. But at the end of the day, the Wildcats will make a few more plays than ASU to get the win and retain the Territorial Cup for the second straight year.

PREDICTION: Arizona 47, Arizona State 37

Be sure to listen in to the 91st edition of the Territorial Cup right here on Blaze Radio, as Chris Cadeau and Weston DeWitt will have the call at 2:30pm from Sun Devil Stadium.

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