When they kick off Saturday in Tempe, Arizona and Arizona State will write the latest chapter in a Territorial Cup rivalry that dates back to 1899. That’s a lot of history.
The Star, in conjunction with The Arizona Republic, asked former ASU and UA players to tell us their most memorable Territorial Cup experiences. Their responses will run every day this week.
Here’s what they said:
RAY WELLS (1999-2002)
“Probably my best memory of that game was 2001, when the Cup was reintroduced. We played up in Tempe. It would’ve been my junior year, and I think going into that game we had either lost or won against Cal and had a two-week bye. I remember knowing this was the game. We’d lost at home the year before and a lot of guys had hard feelings about it. That was the game Coach (Dick) Tomey resigned, and there were a lot of emotions in that game. We definitely wanted to avenge that loss for a couple reasons — you don’t like to lose to your rivals, what had happened after the game, a lot of bitter feelings. We had a really up-and-down season, and to finish on a high note — we wanted to have that win.
“Listening to seniors, guys who had been in the rivalry for a couple years, it gave us a better grasp of the importance of that game. We got the history of the trophy, the oldest rivalry-game trophy in the country, it let us know that the rivalry was a big deal — not just a big deal to us, but nationally it was a big deal.
“The game itself, we started off on fire, offense and defense. It was an explosion. Before the game, we were jacked up. I think it was 21-0 after the first quarter. We got after it. We felt like before that game, even though they had the better record, we were the better team and we were out to prove that.
“We just wanted to dominate that game and leave no doubt. We didn’t want it to be close or a nail-biter. We wanted it to be over early. It was mission accomplished on all fronts.
“There are two vivid memories — Clarence Farmer taking our huge “A” flag and stomping it into Sparky, and then the brawl afterward.”
ASU WIDE RECEIVER
J.D. HILL (1967-68, 1970)
“My favorite Territorial Cup memory is every year we played against the University of Arizona we won.
“The actual last game that I played against the University of Arizona, them ‘Cats up there, I caught a winning touchdown. We actually got an opportunity to go to a bowl game. We ended up being undefeated that season.
“My memory is always winning. I’ve never lost to the University of Arizona.”