Seen and heard at Sun Devil Stadium
Patrick Littler lives in Phoenix, which, for an Arizona Wildcats fan, must feel like being a sheep amongst the wolves.
Every so often, though, the sheep pull together and bleat their heads off.
Particularly at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday, when Littler joined a host of other UA fans in enemy territory.
“It’s rough here, usually,” said Littler, whose Arizona lineage was passed down from father to son. “There are slim pickings here, but when you see someone with that connection, it’s pretty tight.”
Littler spotted a similarly dressed comrade in the bowels of Sun Devil Stadium and offered an enthusiastic high-five.
He was raised in Tucson — his father taught at the UA — and he matriculated there as well, so it’s a pretty deep connection.
It was only made stronger when he attended the university, and took in, first-hand, the Territorial Cup rivalry.
“This game made my college experience a million percent better,” Littler said. “That rivalry, especially being friends with a lot of people on the other side of it, it played a big part of my experience. ... Everybody has something to say about it.”
Especially this year, with the Wildcats coming off a massive win over the Oregon and the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 title game against Stanford.
That made the game all the more important for Arizona fans, who lusted over the chance to take out Arizona State, the conference’s South Division champions after a win over UCLA last week.
“It’s how this game goes,” Littler said. “The team that stinks the most always knocks the other team off. Whether it’s us knocking them down or them knocking us down, that’s how it goes. I’m all good with knocking them off.”
Opening the floodgates
Arizona State’s recent surge has fans rabid and excited, and they’re willing to open up their pocketbooks to prove it.
A concession worker in one of the merchandise booths said that sales on Saturday were the most she’s seen.
“It’s a lot more than last week,” she said. “Mostly ASU fans are here, coming out in full-force.”
School officials weren’t the only ones making some quick cash Saturday night.
At least one savvy gentleman brought a bicycle with a carriage, pedaling his way to a few bucks and saving some ASU fans from a long walk.
Approached for an interview, he could barely afford to take a breather.
“Tonight’s my moneymaker,” he said. “Can’t talk, sorry bro.”
The big number
Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly set the program record for points accounted for in a season — 204 — with a touchdown pass to a wide-open Derwin Rogers near the end of the first half. The redshirt junior quarterback entered the game with 25 touchdown throws and eight TD runs, and his scoring strike broke a tie of 198, shared with Mike Pagel (1981).
Uh, come again?
The Pac-12 Networks, which aired the matchup, had a curious infographic before the game, showing each team’s “Offensive Difference Makers.”
Missing from Arizona’s?
Only Ka’Deem Carey, the leading rusher in program history.
Fans of both teams came bearing large signs. Among the favorites: “RichRod (hearts) Obamacare,” “We Don’t Pity The Kitty” and “Put a Fork In ASU.”