Demario Richard leaves his mark in final Territorial Cup

Richard's last game at Sun Devil Stadium was a good one

Senior running back Demario Richard probably has plenty of fond memories about his 4-year playing career at ASU, but his performance in the 2017 Territorial Cup has to be the best.

Richard was terrific on Saturday, ripping Arizona for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the Sun Devils' 42-30 win at a wild Sun Devil Stadium. His efforts helped ASU climb to 7-5 (6-3 Pac-12), while UA fell to 7-5 (5-4). 

“You can tell when somebody really doesn’t want to do something, especially when you’re playing football,” Richard said. “And you can tell when you’re imposing your will on somebody and they don’t want to play no more.”

The senior running back was rightly recognized as the best player on the field with the Bob Moran Player of the Game Award. 

Despite his excellent game, Richard had just 14 rushing yards in the first half before his offensive line could get in a better rhythm.

"That's regular," Richard said. "We just had to get in our groove, that's it. Once we get in our groove it's over with."

Richard vastly improved in the second half, as he accumulated 151 rushing yards and both his scores.

His signature moment came in the third quarter when the Sun Devils needed a big play. ASU already led 28-24 at the time, but another touchdown would make it a two-score game. 

That's when Richard burst for a 35-yard run deep into Arizona territory, and gestured at redshirt freshman Wildcat cornerback Lorenzo Burns before he was pushed out of bounds.

"I told him to come here and slowed down and pushed me out of bounds," Richard said. "He's a little boy."

A few plays later, Richard gave the Sun Devils a 35-24 lead with a six-yard touchdown score. 

Richard continued his dominance once the fourth quarter rolled around. Just after the Wildcats turned it over on downs near the goal line, Richard sprinted for a 63-yard rush that secured the win. 

"I've talked about Demario and, wow," head coach Todd Graham said. "He is just relentless."

The 2017 Territorial Cup might not have been Richard's best game as Sun Devil, but it was his most impactful.

Richard went out on top in his final game at Sun Devil Stadium, but maybe more importantly, he helped the Sun Devils reclaim the Territorial Cup after losing it last year.

"What happened in Tucson last year?" Richard joked at the press conference.

Of course Richard remembered what happened last season, and made sure that it didn't happen this time around.

"Personally, I just want to say thank you to D-Rich for bringing the passion that he brings everyday," redshirt junior quarterback Manny Wilkins said. "This one meant a lot to me, for these seniors, these are guys that I came in with."

There is a multitude of questions surrounding Graham's job security, but a stupendous showing from Richard helped ASU take back the cup.


Reach the reporter at mpharri7@asu.edu or follow @Harris_Mark7 on Twitter.

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