TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Territorial Cup lived up to its hype.
With more than just pride on the line, Arizona State beat Arizona 41-40 Saturday afternoon after the Sun Devils scored 20 points in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats' hopes ended when Josh Pollack, who had already kicked four field goals, missed a game-winning attempt with seconds to go.
Arizona needed a win to become bowl eligible. That dream ended with a speculator collapse.
Khalil Tate had 282 yards passing and three touchdowns passing while J.J. Taylor ran for 144 yards for the Wildcats.
As much as Tate and Taylor dominated in their final game of the season, it wasn’t enough for the Wildcats to survive the Sun Devils' fourth-quarter comeback.
Sun Devils running back Eno Benjamin, third in the country in rushing, was held in check for the most part. Benjamin had only 80 yards on 21 carries, but he scored three times.
Arizona took a 40-21 lead late in the third quarter when Tate hit Tony Ellison on a 8-yard touchdown strike.
Things then quickly went downhill for the Wildcats.
ASU made it 40-24 with a field goal on the next series and forced a punt on the Wildcats' next possession.
Quarterback Manny Wilkins ended the next drive with an 11-yard touchdown run and ASU converted the 2-point conversion to get even closer at 40-32.
Ryan Newsome then picked off Tate and the Sun Devils kicked a field goal to make it 40-35.
Taylor fumbled on the next series and ASU’s Tyler Johnson recovered it at Arizona’s 22-yard line.
Benjamin scored on the first play and Arizona State took its first lead at 41-40 with three minutes left in the game.
Arizona got the ball back with plenty of time, but the drive and the Wildcats' season ended with Pollack’s miss on a 45-yard field goal attempt.
The Wildcats' collapse was similar to the one in the second quarter of their blowout loss to Washington State last week.
Arizona (5-7, 4-5 Pac-12) had to win to become bowl eligible while Arizona State (7-5, 5-4) is hoping to get a better bowl bid with the victory.
Both teams have first-year head coaches.
ASU’s first season under coach Herm Edwards has been solid. The Sun Devils have scored quality wins and their losses have been close affairs. Arizona is having similar success under Kevin Sumlin, except for blowout losses to Washington State, Utah and Houston.
The Wildcats and Sun Devils were fighting for the Territorial Cup, one of the longest running rivals in college football.
The match-up started in 1899 and is the oldest rivalry trophy game in college football, according to the NCAA. Arizona despite Saturday’s loss still leads the all-time series 49-42-1, but Arizona State has now won two in a row.