2017 ─ CTG’s Final Territorial Cup
While there were many unforgettable events last year, in Tempe it will forever be known as CTG’s last as Arizona State’s head coach. Heading into the season, Graham had mixed reviews from fans and media members alike, as his first three years showed exciting promise while his last two left us wanting more.
ASU continued leaving us wanting more after a 2-2 start to the season. It was not so much the record that was the problem – it was the level of inconsistency that the team had shown.
The team split their first four games with victories over New Mexico State and No. 24 Oregon but lost two very winnable games against San Diego State and Texas Tech in back-to-back weeks.
This level of inconsistency seemed to be the theme of the season from here on out as the Sun Devils entered Graham’s final Territorial Cup at a record of 6-5. The team’s victories throughout the season included a victory over No. 5 Washington but included losses like one to a struggling UCLA team.
Down in Tucson, Rodriguez enjoyed the emergence of an explosive offense behind the play of sophomore quarterback and Heisman contender Khalil Tate. Tate quite literally ran onto the scene after an injury to Dawkins thrust the sophomore into the lineup.
Tate made an impact from day one putting up video game-like numbers in a 45-42 victory over Colorado. The sophomore ran for 327 yards on 14 carries while accounting for a total of five touchdowns in the victory.
With the emergence of the star at quarterback, the Wildcats entered what would be Rodriguez’s last Territorial Cup with a record of 7-4, winning five of the seven games Tate started in.
After tearing up opposing defenses, in a season which he would finish at 1,411 rushing yards, Tate struggled in his matchup against Arizona State as an injury held him out in the second half of a 42-30 loss.
ASU was led by Wilkins, who threw for three touchdowns on only 11 completions, as Richard tore up the Wildcat defense for 165 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. With the victory, the Sun Devils improved to 7-5 and finished the season with a 52-31 loss to NC State in the Sun Bowl.
CTG would finish his Sun Devil career with four victories over Arizona while leading ASU to five bowl games and a Pac-12 Championship appearance during his tenure.