2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 12, Arizona at Arizona State
Pac-12 Fearless Predictions &
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Nov. 19 Arizona 31 … at Arizona State 27
CFN Analysis: This is why teams play rivalry games. Arizona might be in the midst of a miserable season, but the win over Arizona State made the year and it showed there are pieces in place for the next head coach to build around. … Nick Foles’ special season was wasted. His 370 yards and two touchdowns kept the team in the game, and Bryson Beirne finished up with his 23-yard scoring pass to pull off the victory. … The secondary might have given up a ton of yards, but it also made its share of plays. The Wildcats might have the second-worst pass defense in America, but it’s partly because the line didn’t generate any sort of a pass rush all season long. … There might be a lot to work on, but the Wildcats can claim they beat UCLA and Arizona State, the two main teams in the hunt for the Pac-12 South title.
It’s not just that ASU keeps on sliding; it’s that it’s not coming through in the clutch. It might have come up with an overtime win over Missouri, but three of the five losses could’ve gone either way. The Sun Devil defense didn’t hang on against the Wildcats when it needed to come up with one final stop. … Brock Osweiler threw 65 times for 487 yards and a score, but he also gave away two picks. Gerell Robinson was unstoppable with 11 catches for 199 yards and a score, but all the fireworks weren’t enough to make up for the awful day from the defense. … ASU isn’t playing like it wants to play for the Pac-12 title, but if it beats Cal, if Utah bets Colorado, and if UCLA loses to USC, the Sun Devils are in whether they like it or not.
(AP) TEMPE, Ariz. -- Backup quarterback Bryson Beirne, on the only pass he threw all night, connected with Juron Criner on a 23-yard touchdown play with 5:18 remaining and Arizona held on for a 31-27 Territorial Cup victory over Arizona State on Saturday night.
The game ended with the Sun Devils (6-5, 4-4) on the Arizona 15-yard line, where two passes by Brock Osweiler fell incomplete.
Beirne had just come on in relief of game MVP Nick Foles, who completed 35 of 51 for 370 yards and two touchdowns before being shaken up and leaving the game. Criner caught nine passes for 134 yards for Arizona (3-8, 2-8).
Osweiler was 36 of 65 for a career-best 487 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted twice. The Sun Devils' Gerell Robinson had 11 receptions for 199 yards, both career bests.
Arizona State's third loss in a row does not eliminate the Sun Devils from a shot at representing the Pac-12 South in the conference's first championship game. The Sun Devils trail UCLA by a game and the Bruins hold the tiebreaker with one game to play.
Arizona State must beat California next week and needs UCLA to lose to Southern California and Utah to beat Colorado. That would create a three-way tie between ASU, UCLA and Utah, with the Sun Devils getting the nod because they would have the best record within the division.
Foles broke Arizona single-season records for yards passing and pass completions and still has a game to play, a nonconference contest at home against Louisiana-Lafayette.
After Arizona jumped ahead 14-0 early, Arizona State scored the next three touchdowns to pull ahead.
Osweiler had passes of 17 and 34 yards to Robinson on the ensuing drive, with Marshall scoring on a 1-yard run to cut it to 14-7 with two minutes to go in the first quarter. John Bonano's 49-yard field goal attempt on Arizona's next possession bounced off the left upright and was no good. The Sun Devils took over at their 32 and went 48 yards in 11 plays. Robinson was wide open in the end zone on an 11-yard pass for the score and it was tied at 14-14.
Osweiler's 58-yard pass to Rashad Ross, followed by Marshall's 22-yard burst untouched up the middle for the touchdown put Arizona State ahead 21-14 with 4:29 left in the half. Bonano missed a 29-yard field goal barely to the right, but hit 43-yarder with two seconds left to cut Arizona State's lead to 21-17 at the half. Alex Garoutte's 23-yard field goal provided the only points of the third quarter and put the Sun Devils up 24-17 entering the fourth.
Foles was 6 of 7 for 79 yards on a 7-play, 94-yard drive that cut the lead to 24-21. Foles threw short to Gino Crump, who evaded four would-be tacklers on a 33-yard touchdown play with 10:25 remaining.
Foles completed 6 of 6 passes for 67 yards on a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive to start the game. The big play was a 48-yard pass to Criner. The Sun Devils stuffed the Wildcats for five yards in losses on the next two plays, but a pass interference penalty moved it to the 1, where Keola Antolin bulled in for the touchdown.
Arizona State, on the subsequent possession, drove to the Arizona 29, but Shaquille Richardson picked off Osweiler's pass and returned it 42 yards to the Sun Devils 49. Foles threw short to Antolin, who darted through the defense 46 yards to the Arizona State 13. Three plays later, Foles threw 11 yards to Ka'Deem Carey for the touchdown and it was 14-0 with 5:34 left in the first quarter.
Robinson became the first Arizona State player to top 1,000 yards receiving in a season since Derek Hagan in 2005. He topped 100 yards receiving for the fifth time in six games.
Arizona (2-8) at Arizona State (6-4) Nov. 19, 9:30, Versus
Here’s The Deal … Arizona State is up to its old tricks, flirting with mediocrity as soon as the stakes and the expectations get a little higher. The Sun Devils, seemingly assured of coasting to the South Division title a few weeks back, have imploded with back-to-back road losses at UCLA and Washington State. Falling to the Bruins opened the divisional door, while bowing to the Cougars could impact the job security of embattled fifth-year head coach Dennis Erickson. ASU will need to take care of business over the next two weekends, and hope for a UCLA loss if it’s going to represent the South on Dec. 3. Seemingly mining for rock bottom throughout 2011,
Arizona finally located it last weekend with its 48-29 loss to 2-9 Colorado. The Wildcats have been a rudderless ship since the firing of Mike Stoops in October, a team that was never able to find its footing, or adequately replace last year’s best defenders. This marks the 85th Duel in the Desert, a rivalry that’s been very competitive in recent seasons.
Why Arizona Might Win: Arizona players are going to treat this game as if this is their proverbial bowl game. And as long as Nick Foles is taking snaps, the Wildcats can still put up plenty of points. They’ve fashioned the nation’s fourth-ranked passing attack, norming 368 yards passing and 29 points a game. The senior will delight in facing an Arizona State defensive backfield that was just shredded by little-used Wazzu redshirt freshman QB Connor Halliday.
Foles will have myriad quality options to connect with, including Juron Criner and Dan Buckner on the outside, and David Douglas, Gino Crump and David Roberts on the inside. The Sun Devils D has slipped to 98th nationally versus the pass, and hasn’t picked off a throw in three weeks.
Why Arizona State Might Win: The Wildcats defense is a wreck. The film of last week’s game in Boulder clearly bears that out. When Colorado’s struggling offense can generate seven touchdowns and 500 yards, you know the wheels have come off. The Sun Devils will present even more balance and pop for Arizona to contain this Saturday night. Strong-armed Brock Osweiler is the engineer of the passing attack, gunning the ball in the direction of his favorite quartet of receivers comprised of Gerell Robinson, Aaron Pflugrad, Mike Willie and Jamal Miles. Harmonizing the attack will be bulldozing RB Cameron Marshall, who’ll soften an already flimsy Wildcats interior from the inside out. It’s that speed and power mix that’s going to keep ASU’s in-state rival circling the drain.
What To Watch Out For: Is this the final Territorial Cup for Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict? More than likely. The junior with the ferocious on-field demeanor is a safe bet to forego his final year of eligibility in order to turn pro. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they’ll have to contend with him at least one more time. Burfict has not had a great year, with his bark being a little worse than his bite, but he’s never one to be overlooked or underestimated. Rugged against the run, he’s also the Sun Devils’ best pass rusher, and a genuine threat to the health of Foles.
What Will Happen: Arizona is going to bring its “A” game to Tempe, but it’s unlikely to be enough to get out of town with an upset. The defense is in disarray, and the one-note offense leans too heavily on the strong arm of Foles. Arizona State can attack the Wildcats with balance, swiping them with a blend of long strikes and the thumping runs of Marshall.
On emotion and want-to, Arizona will make this game close in the first 30 minutes, before the Sun Devils pull away after halftime to stay on the heels of UCLA in the South Division.
CFN Prediction: Arizona State 35 … Arizona 23
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Arizona State -10.5 O/U: 68
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