Valedictorian: Redshirt senior wide receiver Devin Lucien
Lucien is the easy choice here after claiming the Bob Moran Territorial Cup MVP Award with his stellar performance in his lone Territorial Cup game.
Lucien led all receivers with nine catches for 190 yards and a touchdown, marking a career-high in receiving yardage and setting a career-high with a 58-yard reception, only to break the personal best again with a 59-yard touchdown later in the quarter.
He was a key target for redshirt senior quarterback Mike Bercovici on third downs, allowing ASU to prolong drives to close out the game.
Watch the highlights here:
Salutorians: Freshman safety Kareem Orr and redshirt senior cornerback Lloyd Carrington
We would be remiss if we did not mention the two turning-point plays in the fourth quarter, which broke open what was then a one-score game. With Arizona down 38-30 with four minutes remaining and backed up in its own territory, Orr intercepted a pass from Arizona redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Dawkins and took it to the end zone. Four plays later, Carrington did the same to seal the win.
The ASU offense put together one of its best performances of the season, albeit against a putrid Wildcats defense. After struggling to get much of anything going early on, the Sun Devils came to life in the second quarter behind a revamped vertical passing game that featured the aforementioned Lucien.
Both Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard finished with more than 100 yards rushing as the team gained 250 yards on the ground overall. Redshirt freshman receiver Jalen Harvey even got in on the act, picking up his first career catch and touchdown on a 41-yard strike in the second quarter. All in all, the Sun Devils wound up with 565 yards of offense, ran 80 total plays and managed to have just two turnovers. One of them was costly, however, as Bercovici's quick screen was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
The Sun Devil defense gave up 30 points (not including the pick-six) and still gets an A- grade. How? Well, for one, they absolutely bottled up the running game.
My “bold prediction” for today’s game was that Arizona RB Nick Wilson would have less than 50 rushing yards. He finished with 7 on 6 carries— Fabian Ardaya (@fardaya15) November 22, 2015
Arizona running backs combined for nine carries for nine total yards Saturday, forcing starter Jerrard Randall and his replacement, Dawkins, to make plays from the pocket and with their feet. Randall accomplished little in his only quarter of play, completing just four of 13 passes for 35 yards while rushing four times for 22 yards and a fumble.
Dawkins moved the ball better but was visibly ill and the Wildcats could not convert field goals into touchdowns. Dawkins went 16 for 30 with 305 yards passing and two touchdowns, while running 21 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. ASU forced three turnovers to win the battle (including the two pick-sixes), and the defense stood up when it needed to most.
ASU's special teams unit was solid on Saturday, but wasn't asked to do enough to warrant an 'A' grade. Junior punter Matt Haack matched his career-high with a 65-yard punt, and pinned the Wildcats within their own 20-yard line in four of his six attempts. Junior kicker Zane Gonzalez was perfect in his seven extra-point attempts, and hit his lone 29-yard field goal.
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