TEMPE - Early last week, Tim Kish hinted that the UA might show a smaller, faster look on defense against its in-state rival.
Saturday, he unveiled it.
The Wildcats started their "Duel in the Desert" game with a three-man defensive line, rather than their traditional four players.
The UA's interim coach dared Sun Devils quarterback Brock Osweiler to pick it apart.
For the most part, it worked: Arizona's Shaquille Richardson intercepted Osweiler on ASU's first drive, returning the ball 40 yards to midfield.
Jourdon Grandon appeared to intercept him just before halftime, but the play was overturned by video replay.
The UA forced a fumble in the third quarter as ASU drove but was unable to turn it into any points.
Saturday wasn't the first tweak for Kish, a 30-year defensive coach who seemed stifled under Mike Stoops' 4-3 doctrine.
The Wildcats showed a double-eagle flex front in its last win, an Oct. 20 victory over UCLA and has been tinkering with a handful of different looks since.
Saturday, the Wildcats started Tra'Mayne Bondurant at the hybrid "Sam"/nickel position, making him a combination linebacker and defensive back.
Grandon, a former nickelback, started as an additional defensive back in the "Dime" set, making it easier for the Wildcats to match up with ASU's three- and four-wide receiver offensive sets.
Paul Vassallo, a linebacker, lined up at defensive end for the Wildcats.
A new year - and a new kicker - didn't stop the Wildcats from getting the same results on special teams.
John Bonano missed first-half kicks from 49 and 27 yards before hitting a 44-yarder with two seconds left before halftime.
Alex Zendejas, watching from the sidelines, could sympathize: A year ago, Zendejas - then the starting kicker - had two extra point kicks blocked in a double-overtime loss to the Sun Devils at Arizona Stadium.
Zendejas' first miss came at the end of regulation, forcing the game into overtime; the second allowed ASU to escape with a one-point lead.
The Sun Devils were perfect on kicks Saturday night: Alex Garoutte connected from 22 and 27 yards in the second half, extending a four-point halftime lead to 10.
• ASU left guard Mike Marcisz started for Adam Tello and made his second appearance of the season. On defense, Sun Devils defensive back Alden Darby made his first career start.
• When running back Keola Antolin scored the game's first touchdown, he tied Trung Canidate for No. 4 on the UA list of career rushing touchdowns, with 25.
• ASU running back Cameron Marshall's 27th career rushing touchdown bumped him up to fifth on the Sun Devils' list. His 16 this season is also fourth best in school history.
• Former UA basketball player Richard Jefferson, now a member of the locked-out San Antonio Spurs, attended the game.
• Arizona quarterback Bryson Beirne's fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Juron Criner was the second of his career; the senior threw one last season, when he went 5-for-5 for 33 yards in mop-up duty.