Arizona’s Jedd Fisch preaching discipline ahead of Territorial Cup vs. Arizona State

Nov 21, 2023, 7:34 AM | Updated: 7:34 am

On paper, the No. 16 Arizona Wildcats have a big advantage over the Arizona State Sun Devils in the 2023 Territorial Cup.

But this is one of the country’s most intense rivalries, so everything “on paper” gets thrown out. Everything except discipline, where Arizona is averaging 12.36 fewer penalty yards per game than their opponent but just 0.73 fewer than Arizona State.

“I think that rivalry games are fantastic and they’re great and they’re motivational,” Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch said. “But you still need to be disciplined and you still can’t be playing in a manner that you’re not understanding the game of football, first and foremost.”

Fisch alluded to a sloppy ending in last season’s 38-35 victory — the first after five straight Arizona losses in the matchup — which saw a fight break out following a game-clinching interception by Arizona. Five players, including three Wildcats, were ejected.

With Arizona still having football after Saturday, having already clinched at least a bowl appearance and possibly a Pac-12 Championship appearance, Fisch emphasized playing smart.

We can’t be making any undisciplined moves that could prevent us from being able to be a full deck for the bowl season,” he said.

An outsider may look at the matchup and chalk one up in favor of the Wildcats without thinking too much, but no head coach would let that thinking reach his program.

There’s no overconfidence with this team … there’s not a lot of people out there that talk about our program …” Fisch said. “And we like it that way. So we’re gonna continue to live in that world.”

His team still has a real shot at a Pac-12 Championship, needing No. 15 Oregon State to top No. 6 Oregon in Eugene on Friday night before winning its own game against ASU on Saturday.

“I have no concern that no matter what happens on Friday night between the two Oregon schools that our play will be any different at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday,” Fisch said.

Speaking of the time slot, he’s happy that the matchup is taking centerstage Saturday afternoon at a primetime slot on ESPN.

“(It) should give our guys extra motivation to play at their highest level and to do everything they can to be recognized for a job well done so far,” Fisch said.

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