PHOENIX – Arizona State travels down to Tucson this Thursday in hopes of bringing the Territorial Cup back to Tempe.
ASU pounded UCLA this past Friday by 21 while Arizona is coming off a loss to No. 1 Oregon.
After falling behind 17-0, ASU was lead to a 55-point outburst by Brock Osweiler, who filled in for the injured Steven Threet.
Osweiler threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns in the win. Head coach Dennis Erickson told Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug and Wolf that a similar performance would be needed this week against in-state rival Arizona.
“I know he’s excited about it. I know he’s very capable of doing it,” he said. “He knows what’s going on, he knows the stakes that are involved. He’s just a football player. I think he’ll go in there and play real well.”
Arizona has taken the last two games in the series that has been dubbed “The Duel in the Desert.” The Territorial Cup, which is the oldest trophy in college football, has switched hands five times since 2000.
Last year’s game ended in heartbreak for the Sun Devils as they forced a punt in a tie game with just over a minute to play. The punt was muffed by ASU’s Kyle Williams, setting up a game-winning field goal by Arizona.
Arizona leads the Pac-10 in passing this year averaging 314 yards a game behind junior quarterback Nick Foles. Junior wide receiver Juron Criner also leads the Pac-10 in receiving yards.
“They have great receivers,” said Erickson. “Criner is probably as good as there is in college football.
“He gets open and what he does is he goes and gets the ball. I don’t know that I’ve seen a receiver like that. Making plays is one thing but in a critical situation like he’s been in many times at Arizona, he seems to always make the play.”
The short turnaround does not worry Erickson. The physical aspect is the biggest factor, he says.
“You only have one day of rest,” he said. “But obviously both teams are doing it. You prefer to have a whole week but that’s how it is.”
Listen to Dennis Erickson on Doug & Wolf