Wildcats turn muffed punt into victory in Territorial Cup

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Alex Zendejas kicked a 32-yard field goal as time expired, and Arizona defeated Arizona State 20-17 on Saturday to retain the Territorial Cup.

Arizona won after ASU's Kyle Williams -- who had caught the tying TD pass minutes earlier -- muffed a punt to give the Wildcats the ball at the Sun Devils 22-yard line.

A skirmish broke out between Arizona State (4-8, 2-7 Pac-10) and Arizona (7-4, 5-3) at midfield moments after Zendejas' kick, but order was quickly restored.

Keola Antolin scored on a 67-yard run and Orlando Vargas blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown for the Wildcats, who have beaten the Sun Devils in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1997-98.

Dimitri Nance ran for 115 yards for the Sun Devils, who lost their last six games, matching the school record for consecutive losses in a single season.

It was another crusher for the Sun Devils, who also lost to Georgia and California on last-gasp field goals this season.

Down 14-0 at halftime, the Sun Devils rallied and appeared ready to force overtime on a miracle play with 2:02 remaining.

On fourth-and-12 from Arizona's 14, Danny Sullivan rolled out of the pocket and fired a strike to a diving Williams in the back of the end zone. It was their second scoring connection of the quarter, following a 44-yarder with 11:54 to go.

Then came disaster for ASU.

Williams muffed a punt, and Arizona's Mike Turner recovered at ASU's 22-yard line. Four plays later, Zendejas trotted on and nailed the game-winner, hitting it straight down the middle as red-clad Arizona fans erupted.

The annual duel in the desert drew a disappointing crowd -- announced at 55,989 in 71,706-seat Sun Devil Stadium -- on a 70-degree afternoon.

ASU started with a bang. On the Sun Devils' first offensive snap, quarterback Samson Szakacsy hit Williams for 44 yards. Then Nance ripped off a 15-yard run.

The drive netted nothing after Thomas Weber missed a 36-yard field goal.

After gaining 59 yards on their first two plays, the Sun Devils gained 20 on their next 23 plays.

Sullivan, who started ASU's first nine games, replaced Szakacsy.

The Wildcats struck first. Antolin took a handoff, broke through the line and outraced the secondary for a 67-yard score that put Arizona up 7-0 late in the first quarter. It was Arizona's longest scoring run of the season.

Arizona State's defense, ranked second in the Pac-10, kept the Sun Devils in the game.

The Wildcats made it 14-0 late in the first half when Vargas blew through the line and blocked a punt by Trevor Hankins, scooped it up and ran it back 23 yards for a touchdown.

Midway through the third quarter, Williams made a big special teams play, returning a punt 53 yards to set up ASU's first points, a field goal by Weber to pull within 14-3.

The Sun Devils made it 14-10 with 11:54 remaining on a seven-play, 96-yard drive, capped by a 44-yard strike from Sullivan to Williams.

The Wildcats responded with an 11-play, 63-yard march, capped by a field goal by Zendejas to take a 17-14 lead with 7:50 to play.

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