ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

Trenton Bourguet proves worthy of ASU’s QB1 in homecoming, Territorial Cup loss to Arizona

Nov 25, 2022, 8:30 PM | Updated: 9:24 pm

TUCSON — At the start of the college football season, nobody could have predicted the circumstances surrounding the Arizona State Sun Devils’ final offensive drive of 2022.

Trailing the Arizona Wildcats 38-35 with 1:30 left near midfield, quarterback Trenton Bourguet’s arm was hit as he threw the ball for what ended up being the game-clinching interception for the 96th edition of the Territorial Cup.

The loss snaps Arizona State’s five-game winning streak against its in-state rival (5-7, 3-6 in Pac-12), marking the first loss in the Duel in the Desert since 2016.

ASU finished the year with a 3-9 record (2-7 in conference), the most losses in a single season in school history and the second time since World War II that the Sun Devils won three games or fewer (1994 was the other).

And despite not being the starting quarterback for the first half of the season, quarterback Trenton Bourguet came off the bench to lead Arizona State to two of those three wins.

In fact, the walk-on beat out Alabama transfer Paul Tyson — the great-grandson of Paul “Bear” Bryant — for the backup job before eventually taking over starting duties from a struggling Emory Jones, who also transferred from Florida during the summer after not participating in ASU’s spring ball.

Coming back to the Territorial Cup matchup at Arizona Stadium on Friday, you would’ve guessed Bourguet was a sixth-year senior with an abundance of experience — not a redshirt junior making just his fifth-ever start at the college level.

That’s because the QB tossed for 376 yards on 37 of 49 passing (76%) with three touchdowns. He also added 14 rushing yards on eight carries. Unfortunately, two interceptions and a strip sack fumble were his few blemishes on the day.

Bourguet spread the ball out to nine different pass catchers, with the likes of tight end Jalin Conyers and wide receivers Gio Sanders and Elijhah Badger being his favorite targets.

The trio combined for three touchdowns on 26 receptions and 288 yards, with Conyers leading the way with a game-high 10 grabs for 76, while the two receivers each reeled in eight catches. Sanders led all pass catchers with 120 yards, while Badger was second with 92.

And with Bourguet having graduated from Marana High School, the Tucson native was the quintessential player for interim head coach Shaun Aguano, who made it known from Day 1 when he took over for Herm Edwards that ASU could win with Arizona natives.

In fact, Bourguet had his own fan section in the middle of the Zona Zoo, with over a dozen gold shirts with “TB16” written on them popping out in a sea of red.

“Growing up, I didn’t miss a (Wildcats) home game from the time I was born to the time I was 14,” Bourguet said postgame. “This tunnel where we run out of, I was in that first row, I was booing the guys, I was booing (Mike) Bercovici when he’d run out and now I’m that guy running out.

“So it’s crazy how it all worked out but I wouldn’t change anything for the world, to walk on at Arizona State, to have another former walk-on (Sanders) make big plays today over and over, it just proves everybody out there in the state of Arizona, outside the world, you may be overlooked but control what you can and good things can happen.”

And while the results may not have gone the way ASU would have wanted, a couple of big question marks have been answered.

Neither Bourguet nor Aguano was able to confirm their future with the Arizona State football program — and that’s for two very different reasons.

The interim head coach was extremely emotional postgame about his time at the helm of the Sun Devils, which inferred that he would not be returning as the head coach full-time.

However, I believe Aguano at the very least has proven he is worthy of a role on the coaching staff that oversees either the running backs, in-state recruiting or both.

“I’m a pretty smart guy in regards to you know, we didn’t get the job done and it’s a win business,” Aguano said. “I get it and I’m so good because I took care of those kids. I always will be a Sun Devil. This is one of the greatest things that has happened in my life and my family’s life and we made a difference.

“We didn’t get it done. So there’s gonna be a lot of disappointed people in me from not bringing back that Territorial Cup and I’ll take that and I’m good with it. But I love those kids in that room, so I’m good.”

“The higher-ups are gonna make that decision. The new coach that comes in is going to make that decision,” Aguano added. “Here’s what I know about Shaun Aguano: I’m never an ego guy and I want Sun Devil nation to win and be successful. So if that includes me, I’ll do whatever I can to make sure that we win football games.

“But I’m not an ego guy. I can be the waterboy on the side if they pay me enough for it. But whatever I can do in order to make Sun Devil nation be prominent like they should be and deserve to be. I’ll do whatever it is,” he added. “But you know that might not happen. There might be opportunities other places. I’m just a ball coach that loves kids and I want to develop kids and so wherever I land I know I’m going to do my job to the best of my ability.”

And as for Bourguet, he should be the team’s starting quarterback in 2023 regardless of who the next head coach may be. Or at a minimum, any transfer should have to win the job after how well he handled all the adversity, turmoil and turbulence the Arizona State football program endured this season.

EXTRA POINTS

– ASU backup RB Daniyel Ngata was not dressed out and did not play in the game.

– Starting LG LaDarius Henderson also missed his sixth consecutive game due to a finger injury.

Quarterback Trenton Bourguet #16 of the Arizona State Sun Devils warms up before the NCAAF game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 25, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona. This year's game is the 96th annual Territorial Cup match between Arizona rival schools.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Arizona running back Michael Wiley (6) scores a touchdown against Arizona State in the first half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona State wide receiver Elijhah Badger (2) scores a touchdown against Arizona in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona State defensive back Ro Torrence (9) celebrates with defensive back Chris Edmonds (5) after intercepting the ball against Arizona in the first half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona State quarterback Trenton Bourguet (16)looks to throw the ball against Arizona in the first half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona State defensive lineman Nesta Jade Silvera (4) sacks Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laurain the first half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona running back Michael Wiley (6) runs the ball between Arizona State defensive backs Chris Edmonds (5) and Khoury Bethley (15) in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona linebacker Sterling Lane II upends Arizona State tight end Jalin Conyers (12) in the first half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona State running back Xazavian Valladay reacts after scoring atouchdown against Arizona in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona State wide receiver Bryan Thompson (22) runs away from Arizona cornerback Tacario Davis in the first half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona State wide receiver Bryan Thompson (22) makes the catch on Arizona cornerback Treydan Stukes in the first half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Running back Michael Wiley #6 of the Arizona Wildcats rushes the football en route to scoring a 51-yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half of the NCAAF game at Arizona Stadium on November 25, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona. This year's game is the 96th annual Territorial Cup match between Arizona rival schools.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Quarterback Jayden de Laura #7 of the Arizona Wildcats drops back to pass during the first half of the NCAAF game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Arizona Stadium on November 25, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona. This year's game is the 96th annual Territorial Cup match between Arizona rival schools.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) 
              Arizona State running back Xazavian Valladay (1) runs the ball in front of Arizona safety Christian Young (5) in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
            Arizona running back DJ Williams (32) scores a touchdown against Arizona State in the second half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona defensive lineman Ta'ita'i Uiagalelei (46), running back Nazar Bombata (28), and lineman Hunter Echols (31) celebrate the team's win over Arizona State in an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona running back Jonah Coleman scores a touchdown against Arizona State in the second half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona State tight end Jalin Conyers (12) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Arizona in the second half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona linebacker Jacob Manu pressures Arizona State quarterback Trenton Bourguet (16) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona won 38-35. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace tackles Arizona State running back Xazavian Valladay (1) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona won 38-35. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona defensive lineman Jalen Harris knocks the ball away from Arizona State quarterback Trenton Bourguet (16) while offensive lineman Emmit Bohle (70) tries to block Harris during the second half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona won 38-35. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona State running back Xazavian Valladay looks to fend off Arizona safety Christian Young (5) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona won 38-35. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona State tight end Messiah Swinson makes a catch in front of Arizona cornerback Treydan Stukes (20) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona won 38-35. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona safety Isaiah Taylor (18) celebrates with cornerbacks Tacario Davis (23) and Treydan Stukes (20) after intercepting the ball against Arizona State in the second half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona running back Jonah Coleman runs past Arizona State defensive lineman Anthonie Cooper (96) and defensive back Ed Woods (10) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona won 38-35. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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