WILEY’S WILDCATS: Arizona edges Arizona State, snaps Territorial Cup losing streak

The University of Arizona football team takes the field.
The University of Arizona football team takes the field.(Ary Frank | Arizona Athletics)
Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 4:41 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2022 at 4:48 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - For the first time six seasons, the University of Arizona Wildcats are the Territorial Cup champions thanks to a dominating performance by Michael Wiley and a key pick in the final seconds.

Wiley was a beast, rushing for 214 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 38-35 win over Arizona State. Jayden de Laura passed for 200 yards and an interception as Arizona ended its season at (5-7, 3-6 Pac-12).

Arizona State quarterback Trenton Bourguet, who prepped at Marana High, had a great game with 376 yards and three touchdowns. But he had two interceptions, including one with less than a minute to go that sealed the win for the Wildcats.

Running back Xazavian Valladay added 97 rushing yards and two touchdowns for Sun Devils (3-9, 2-7).

Before Friday, the Wildcats’ last victory over rival Arizona State came during the 2016 season. Arizona’s performance Friday may have taken a little sting out of Arizona State’s 70-7 runaway win in 2020.

While the Wildcats’ season may be over without a bowl berth, there is plenty to be happy about.

Arizona went 1-11 last season in the first year under head coach Jedd Fisch. They improved to 4-7 this season, including a huge upset of No. 9 UCLA on the road weeks ago.

Expectations will be high for next season, and there is no reason to think the Wildcats can’t compete for the Pac-12 title.

They have a top 20 offense led by de Laura, Wiley and receivers Jacob Cowing, Dorian Singer and Tetairoa McMillan.

While the Wildcats’ defense struggled early, it has shown signs of improvement each week.

Fisch and his staff deserve a ton of credit for the turnaround. The players they brought in have made immediate impacts and the program is believing in itself again after several rough seasons.

While a bowl berth this year would have been nice, a win over rival Arizona State tastes just as sweet for many fans.

Arizona Wildcats Season