Don Hansen

Fun With Numbers: 2014 Territorial Cup

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Rivalry week always brings about intense feelings and emotions across the country. In the state of Arizona, the Territorial Cup battle is intense, so intense that two researchers have concluded the Territorial Cup is the most intense rivalry in college football. There is no love between these schools, and Arizona State head coach Todd Graham called the Territorial Cup game “the most important game of the year” for his program. However, there is much more at stake than the Territorial Cup this season. The winner of this game will likely finish in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff rankings, and the winner has an outside chance to make the Pac-12 Championship Game if Stanford upsets UCLA on Friday.

On the field though, these teams are extremely similar. Here are some numbers to show how close Arizona State and Arizona have performed this season:

College Football Playoff Ranking
Arizona State:   13
Arizona:   11

Associated Press Poll Ranking
Arizona State:   13
Arizona:   12

Coaches Poll Ranking
Arizona State:   13
Arizona:   12

Total Defense in Eight Pac-12 Games
Arizona State:   444.6 yards per game (5.73 yards per play)
Arizona:   460.9 yards per game (5.74 yards per play)

Defensive Sacks in Eight Pac-12 Games
Arizona State:   25
Arizona:   24

Defensive Tackles for Loss in Eight Pac-12 Games
Arizona State:   66
Arizona:   61

Turnover Margin in Eight Pac-12 Games
Arizona State:   +6 (Third in Conference)
Arizona:   +9 (Second in Conference)

Penalties in Eight “Flag-Happy Referees” Pac-12 Games
Arizona State:   39.6 yards per game (5.3 penalties per game)
Arizona:   56.6 yards per game (5.9 penalties per game)

Offensive Time of Possession in Eight Pac-12 Games
Arizona State:   27 (Last in conference)
Arizona:   20 (Third in conference)

Sacks Allowed in Eight Pac-12 Games
Arizona State:   28:19 (Tenth in conference)
Arizona:   27:47 (Eleventh in conference)

3rd Down Conversions in Eight Pac-12 Games
Arizona State:   36.29% (Tenth in conference)
Arizona:   39.13% (Seventh in conference)

Opponent 3rd Down Conversions in Eight Pac-12 Games
Arizona State:   36.84% (Second in conference)
Arizona:   42.14% (Ninth in conference)

Forget all the detailed statistics, checkout the team’s overall season results against common opponents:

Common OpponentArizona State Sun DevilsArizona Wildcats
Colorado38 - 24 (W)38 - 20 (W)
UCLA27 - 62 (L)7 - 17 (L)
USC38 - 34 (W)26 - 28 (L)
Utah19 - 16 (W)42 - 10 (W)
Washington24 -10 (W)27 - 26 (L)
Washington State52 - 31 (W)59 - 37 (W)

This similarity is great for the rivalry. As the stakes get higher due to the success of the individual programs, the Territorial Cup will be witnessed by more across the nation who need to see the passion, anger, and intensity between the two programs. With the high stakes, Friday’s Territorial Cup could be one for Arizona State or Arizona ages.

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About Don Hansen

Don Hansen

Don is a 2003 graduate of Arizona State University where he spent four years sitting in the front rows of many ASU athletic events leading the rowdy student section. Now, Don co-hosts the "ASU Devils Den" podcast covering every detail of ASU football. Don works and resides in Gilbert, Arizona with his beautiful Sun Devil wife and their two beautiful daughters!

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