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November 25, 2005
Mistakes, injuries do Wildcats in
Arizona's best players were at the top of their games on Friday in the team's rivalry game against ASU but it didn't matter as they watched, injured on the sidelines, as Sun Devils kicker Jessie Ainsworth kicked a 20-yard field goal to win the game.
Freshman quarterback Willie Tuitama, senior running back Mike Bell, senior halfback Gilbert Harris and junior tight end Brad Wood were all injured in the game while freshman wide receiver Mike Thomas broke his hand two weeks ago.
The injuries were too much to overcome and ASU came back from 15 points down to knock off the Wildcats.
Both ASU and Arizona got on the board quickly with field goals. After an ASU safety, the Wildcats took control of the game. Travis Bell and Mike Bell had touchdowns in the first half, giving the Wildcats a 17-5 lead going into the half.
In Arizona's first two possessions of the second half, the team lost two potential touchdowns due to costly mistakes. Running back Chris Henry would have had a long touchdown run if he didn't step out of bounds and Harris, limited with a thigh bruise, dropped a wide open touchdown pass.
The Wildcats settled for a field goal after the Harris loss, putting the team up 20-5, but it was all Sun Devils from there on out. Rudy Burgess had a seven yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 20-12 and Terry Richardson returned a punt for a touchdown.
After the two-point conversion, the game was all tied up. However, with Tuitama out with an injured shoulder and backup quarterback Richard Kovalcheck in the game, the Wildcats offense couldn't get back in sync.
A Nick Folk punt put ASU on their own 20-yard line with 4:55 minutes remaining, setting up the Sun Devils' game winning driver. ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter and Burgess led the Sun Devils to the Arizona three-yard line, where Ainsworth knocked in the game-winning field goal with six seconds left on the clock.
Syndric Steptoe's kickoff return went only 28 yards, giving the Territorial Cup back to the Sun Devils.
For Arizona, the Wildcats end the season 3-8 for the second straight year. ASU (6-5) will move on to the Insight.com bowl.