2015 ─ Sun Devils Regain the Cup
While Jurassic World makes it debut in theaters detailing a demise of society by dinosaur, the Arizona State football team saw its own demise on the football field.
After back-to-back 10-win seasons in Graham’s first three seasons at Arizona State, the demise began for what was one of the most promising teams in the nation.
The Sun Devils came into the season ranked No. 15 in the nation and were even tabbed a College Football Playoff dark horse.
The reason behind the hype?
On paper, the team had enough talent left over from a season ago and gained enough new talent to be able to compile another 10-plus win season and have another shot at the Pac-12 South.
What was on paper did not translate to the field as the Sun Devils stumbled out of the gates, opening the season with a 38-17 loss to Texas AM on opening night. The struggles continued from there as ASU entered the matchup against U of A at a record of 5-5.
The team had shown glimpses of potential in a victory over No. 7 UCLA, 38-23, but remained inconsistent throughout conference play.
Down south, the struggles were were all too similar for the Wildcats.
Arizona entered the matchup just a game over .500 at 6-5 after a win in double-overtime against Utah. The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Wildcats in a season that Anu Solomon had struggled in.
Solomon was injured late in the victory over Utah, taking away his chance to replicate his success against ASU a year prior.
Arizona State dominated the Solomon-less Wildcats 52-37 behind the transfer Lucien, who ran easily through Arizona’s secondary. The senior made the most of his first Territorial Cup catching nine passes for 190 yards and a touchdown to lead the way for Arizona State.
The victory would lead to bowl eligibility for the fourth straight year under Graham as the Sun Devils headed to the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl after a 6-6 finish in the regular season.
The struggles from the season would carry over into the bowl game as West Virginia threw for over 500 yards against a struggling Sun Devil secondary, leading to a 43-42 loss for the Sun Devils.