TEMPE - Before the Arizona Wildcats could stop smiling late Saturday night, the sight of their star quarterback walking gingerly down the hallway led to a startling question: Has Nick Foles played his last collegiate snap?
The senior was forced from the 31-27 Territorial Cup victory after being injured running for 7 yards with about eight minutes left in the game. He handed the ball off three times before leaving.
Foles said late Saturday night his injury was "probably a muscle" in his "lower back-side" area. He couldn't twist his back or, after the game, talk loudly, without being in pain.
"They don't think it's anything real serious," he said. "I'll be good."
That doesn't necessarily mean Foles will start Saturday's season finale at home against Louisiana-Lafayette.
"If I'm capable," he said. "If I can't play, I'm no good out there. …
"I want more than anything to be out there on that field. I really don't know. I'm in a lot of pain right now."
If the injury could affect Foles' NFL draft stock, it seems prudent for the Wildcats to not rush him back.
Either way, Foles, statistically, will end his career as Arizona's most productive quarterback.
The Pac-12's passing yardage leader set the UA career passing yards mark against Colorado, and holds school records for career completions and pass attempts.
Saturday night, he passed Willie Tuitama to set the UA's single-season completion mark, with 344.
Against the Sun Devils, Foles completed 35 of 51 attempts for 370 yards - fifth-most in the rivalry's history - and two touchdowns.
The UA scored 14 points in the final frame.
"The fourth quarter, it was just a slugfest," center Kyle Quinn said. "We were throwing our best plays, they were throwing their best plays, and we came out on top. It's anybody's contest at that point.
"Those last five minutes felt like a lifetime."
Foles, the Bob Moran Territorial Cup Series Player of the Game, watched the Wildcats win on the only pass he did not throw.
Backup Bryson Beirne completed a screen pass to Juron Criner, which the senior ran 23 yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown.
ASU was blitzing, and Criner busted through tacklers on his way to the end zone.
"I just braced for the hit, spun out of it, put my hand on the ground," Criner said. "I was just thinking, 'Keep my balance. Don't fall.' "
When Beirne entered the game, he told Foles he would win it.
"It was amazing," Foles said. "If there's anyone that deserves it, it's him."
Beirne has been dealing with an anterior cruciate ligament sprain in his right knee since fall camp.
UA coach Tim Kish said Beirne's composure was no surprise; he characterized the senior as Foles' coach on the sideline during the season.
"I'm a reflection of my parents and my coach," Beirne said. "My parents are always calm. My coach is even calmer …
"My approach to it is, 'It's just a game.' Obviously it's the Territorial Cup and it's a big game and all that rah-rah stuff, but when it comes down to it, it's just a game."
Foles took joy in watching the little-used roommate - "a special person," he said - succeed
"That's Bryson; I love him to death." Foles said. "It's tough, going into that environment like that and playing through what he's been playing through."
Whether he will watch Beirne again Saturday will depend on how Foles' back feels this week.
"Bryson went in, and he did a great job filling in," Foles said. "I'm really proud of him."