ASU takes advantage of Wildcats turnovers for big halftime lead
Twenty minutes into the Territorial Cup on Friday, the Arizona State Sun Devils had run just 16 plays. They had five first downs. They had also forced four turnovers against the Arizona Wildcats, which helped them take a lead as high as 42-0 in the first half.
At halftime, ASU led 42-7.
The Sun Devils led by 21 at the end of the first quarter, but on the first drive of the second quarter, it looked like Arizona may be making a move. The Wildcats drove the ball down to the two-yard line; a touchdown would have cut ASU’s lead to 14.
Then junior linebacker Darien Butler forced Arizona senior running back Gary Brightwell to fumble and ASU regained possession. It was the third Wildcats turnover of the day and Brightwell’s second fumble.
ASU’s defense came through and prevented Arizona from scoring. It didn’t take long for the Sun Devil offense to put more insult on the board.
Junior running back Rachaad White took the second play of the drive 93 yards for the score, cutting through the line and to the right side before taking it all the way upfield.
With that, ASU took a 28-0 lead.
There was no pity for the kitty. Arizona ran one play before it committed yet another turnover. Junior defensive lineman Jermayne Lole had a strip-sack of Grant Gunnell and redshirt DL Tyler Johnson recovered.
Jermayne Lole gets the strip-sack on Grant Gunnell and ASU recovers the fumble! pic.twitter.com/7ebRZkF4sS
— . (@RespectDaBeard1) December 12, 2020
ASU’s first play of the next drive was a long run, but it was called back for holding. No problem. After a five-yard gain on first-and-20, sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels threw a 31-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Ricky Pearsall.
Again, there was no mercy. ASU forced a turnover on downs and then pulled out a trick play on offense. This time, it was Pearsall who hit Daniels in the end zone. It was called back due to ineligible receiver — the same penalty that cost them two touchdowns last week — but freshman running back Daniyel Ngata ran home the three-yard score.
ASU took the lead and, for the first time this season, showed dominance. The Sun Devils are on track to get their first win of the season while the Wildcats look to be headed to their 12th loss in a row dating back to last season.