Give Thanks for the "Uncivil" Territorial Cup in Arizona

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Real Estate BR632450000

Give thanks for our territorial (Arizona Territory became a State in 1913) football cup first awarded in 1899. The now annual Duel in the Desert serves as a diversion from taxes, politics and our jobs. A bit of history on the origination of the uncivilties in addition to the hijinks, pranks and one ups. We are not talking about painting each others "A" Mountains here under heavy guard. This goes deep.


Territorial Cup ASU Arizona
                             The Territorial Cup 1899 is the oldest College Football Tropy in the US


The University of Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State Sun Devils resume their often uncivil rivalry and play Saturday, November 25 at 2:30pm Arizona Time (we don't change times) in Tempe in the 91st reunion in the oldest college football trophy rivalry dating back to 1899. It is an intense rivalry from the States two major universities about 100 miles apart from the University of Arizona inTucson and Arizona State University in Tempe (Phoenix).


What caused the Superheated Uncivilties?


When did the rivalry first get really superheated intense and even uncivil? Well there was the incident of the three player "kidnapping" by ASU of 1937 that resulted in fuming supporters and no territorial cup games for three years.


Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star reported on November 20, 2017 the true story, "On a February afternoon in 1938, Arizona athletic director Pop McKale announced the school’s upcoming football schedule but strangely left the final week blank. It didn’t include Arizona State, and McKale awkwardly declined to comment on ASU’s conspicuous absence. Two months later, the Wildcats announced their final game would be against Montana. Thus began four years of fear and loathing unmatched in the football rivalry between Arizona and ASU, a contempt that went beyond anything generated across the last 80 years, and, yes, that includes the long domination of Frank Kush and the Larry Smith-inspired “Streak” of 1982-90. By comparison, the much-documented unfriendly relationship between Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez and ASU’s Todd Graham seems innocuous. From 1938-41, Arizona refused to schedule the Sun Devils — then the Bulldogs — because the school pirated three top prospects from the UA’s campus six weeks before the 1937 opening game against, yep, ASU. “Pop decided not to play them again until those three kids were gone,” Arizona’s 1940 all-conference halfback John Black told me in 1999. “He said ‘screw ‘em’ but in much harsher terms.” It was a football conspiracy for the ages.



The Kidnapping Unfolds


On a late August night in 1937, ASU student manager Tom Lillico devised a plan to get former Glendale High School all-state football players Walt Ruth, Wayne Pitts and Rex Hopper out of their UA dormitories and onto the ASU roster. In 1979, Lillico told The Arizona Republic he got permission to borrow ASU coach Rudy Lavik’s car to carry out the most daring case of football poaching in Arizona history. “They kidnapped those three kids,” Black said. “Coach Lavik didn’t know anything about it,”


Lillico said 40 years later. “We had to borrow his car because he was the only guy we knew who had a car that could make it to Tucson and back.” Lillico drove to Tucson and returned overnight with Pitts, Ruth and Hopper. All were said to be unhappy because the UA had not yet promised them full scholarships. They spent the late summer working menial jobs in Tucson as arranged by A. Louis Slonaker, the UA’s “graduate manager,” which was essentially an assistant athletic director’s position. Once UA coach Tex Oliver realized his three prized Glendale recruits were gone, Slonaker phoned ASU President Grady Gammage, who acknowledged he had met at his house with Pitts, Ruth and Hopper the day they arrived from Tucson. Gammage guaranteed full scholarships and, according to a Republic story in 1979, told them “we’re going to have a football team up here.” Dean Smith, author of the 1970s book “Eight Decades of Sun Devil Football,” wrote that kidnapping three UA players “was a chance to put the haughty Wildcats in their place.”


Scheduling Boycott 1938-1940


McKale and the Wildcats staged a scheduling boycott. They did not play ASU in 1938, 1939 and 1940, replacing them with Montana, Loyola Marymount and Marquette. ASU added Gonzaga, West Texas A&M and Whittier to its schedule. The tension grew. Dwight “Red” Harkins, who owned College Theatre in Tempe — the same Harkins whose family now owns the Harkins Theatre chain — developed a five-minute movie trailer challenging Arizona to play ASU. Harkins proposed a 1940 December bowl game, Arizona vs. ASU, matching the 7-2 Wildcats against 7-1-2 ASU. McKale declined, even though ASU was officially declared Border Conference champions, and the UA was promised $15,000, a small fortune in 1940. By 1941, Ruth, Pitts and Hopper — all of whom played for coach UA alumnus Red Couch’s undefeated 1936 Glendale High powerhouse — were gone.


Series Resumed in 1941 with Much Anticipation


McKale added ASU to the schedule for Oct. 25, 1941 in Tempe. Payback. Revenge. Madness. Arizona’s ambitions were never higher........The Star’s day-of-game advance story was provocative: “An ancient feud, smoldering with subterranean volcanic fury for the last four years, erupts tonight when Arizona unleashes its devastating aerial might against the Arizona State Bulldogs of Tempe.” UA fans were so eager to get to Tempe that they arranged for the highway patrol to convoy hundreds of vehicles on the old highway from Tucson to Phoenix, escorted by police starting at noon and beginning each half hour until 3 p.m. The Star’s story continued: “The Wildcats have listened to insinuations and insults for four years about being afraid of Tempe.


Arizona Daily Star ASU Arizona

In 1941 the Arizona Daily Star promotes resumption of the Territorial Cup series after the 1937 "kidnapping" of 3 players by ASU.


Tonight, they’re determined to a man to show no mercy.” Arizona won 20-7. The headline in the next day’s Star said: WILDCAT ROOTERS RUSH FIELD TEAR DOWN GOAL POSTS Seeing the celebration, hundreds of ASU fans stormed onto the turf in attempt to regain possession of the goal posts. Police were powerless to stop the brawl. Someone at ASU turned off the lights. “It was a wild, milling melee,” the Star reported. An hour later, as hundreds of Tucsonans boarded a late train home, ASU fans threw rocks and fruit at the train, injuring several of UA fans. Later in the week, the Star reported that “it was a corking good game” and blamed the post-game brawls on “hostilities fostered by hoodlums.” As for the three players ASU kidnapped from the UA dormitory: Hopper played one season and left school. Ruth was a three-year starter. Pitts became an all-Border Conference halfback and later principal at an elementary school in Avondale."....See full story from Greg Hansen, Kidnapping Led to Uncivil Rivalry between Arizona and ASU .


Of course there are more stories and events with each decade, but those are for another day.


 Duel in the Desert resumes between Wilbur Wildcat and Sparky Sun Devil


Per Wikepedia and their following chart, "Arizona leads the series 49–40–1, which includes a 20–2 start for Arizona from 1899 to 1948. Arizona State University was previously known as the Normal School of Arizona (1899–1901), Tempe Normal School (1901–25), Tempe State Teacher's College (1925–28), Arizona State Teacher's College (1928–45), and Arizona State College (1945–58)."

Game results

Arizona victories Arizona State victories Tie games
No. Date Location Winner Score
1 1899 Tucson Normal School of Arizona 11–2
2 1902 Tucson Arizona 12–0
3 1914 Tucson Arizona 34–0
4 1915 Tucson Arizona 7–0
5 1919 Tucson Arizona 59–0
6 1925 Tucson Arizona 13–3
7 1926 Tucson Arizona 35–0
8 1928 Tucson Arizona 39–0
9 1929 Tucson Arizona 26–0
10 1930 Tucson Arizona 6–0
11 1931 Tempe Arizona State 19–6
12 1932 Tucson Arizona 20–6
13 1933 Tempe Arizona 26–7
14 1934 Tucson Arizona 32–6
15 1935 Tucson Arizona 26–0
16 1936 Tempe Arizona 18–0
17 1937 Tucson Arizona 20–6
18 1941 Tempe Arizona 20–7
19 1942 Tempe Arizona 23–0
20 1946 Tucson Arizona 67–0
21 1947 Tempe Arizona 26–13
22 1948 Tucson Arizona 33–21
23 1949 Tempe Arizona State 34–7
24 1950 Tucson Arizona State 47–13
25 1951 Tempe Arizona State 61–14
26 1952 Tucson Arizona State 20–18
27 1953 Tempe Arizona 35–0
28 1954 Tucson Arizona 54–14
29 1955 Tempe Arizona 7–6
30 1956 Tucson Arizona State 20–0
31 1957 Tempe Arizona State 47–7
32 1958 Tucson Arizona State 47–0
33 1959 Tempe Arizona State 15–9
34 1960 Tucson Arizona 35–7
35 1961 Tempe Arizona 22–13
36 1962 Tucson Arizona 20–17
37 1963 Tempe Arizona State 35–6
38 1964 Tucson Arizona 30–6
39 1965 Tempe Arizona State 14–6
40 1966 Tucson Arizona State 20–17
41 1967 Tempe Arizona State 47–7
42 1968 Tucson Arizona State 30–7
43 1969 Tempe Arizona State 38–24
44 1970 Tucson Arizona State 10–6
45 1971 Tempe Arizona State 31–0
46 1972 Tucson Arizona State 38–21
No. Date Location Winner Score
47 1973 Tempe Arizona State 55–19
48 1974 Tucson Arizona 10–0
49 1975 Tempe Arizona State 24–21
50 1976 Tucson Arizona State 27–10
51 1977 Tempe Arizona State 23–7
52 1978 Tucson Arizona State 18–17
53 1979 Tempe Arizona 27–24
54 1980 Tucson Arizona State 44–7
55 1981 Tempe Arizona State 24–13
56 1982 Tucson Arizona 28–18
57 1983 Tempe Arizona 17–15
58 1984 Tucson Arizona 16–10
59 1985 Tempe Arizona 16–13
60 1986 Tucson Arizona 34–17
61 1987 Tempe Tie 24–24
62 1988 Tucson Arizona 28–18
63 1989 Tempe Arizona 28–10
64 1990 Tucson Arizona 21–17
65 1991 Tempe Arizona State 37–14
66 1992 Tucson Arizona State 7–6
67 1993 Tempe Arizona 34–20
68 1994 Tucson Arizona 28–27
69 1995 Tempe Arizona 31–28
70 1996 Tucson Arizona State 56–14
71 1997 Tempe Arizona 28–16
72 1998 Tucson Arizona 50–42
73 1999 Tempe Arizona State 42–27
74 2000 Tucson Arizona State 30–17
75 2001 Tempe Arizona 34–21
76 2002 Tucson Arizona State 34–20
77 2003 Tempe Arizona State 28–7
78 2004 Tucson Arizona 34–27
79 2005 Tempe Arizona State 23–20
80 2006 Tucson Arizona State 28–14
81 2007 Tempe Arizona State 20–17
82 2008 Tucson Arizona 31–10
83 2009 Tempe Arizona 20–17
84 2010 Tucson Arizona State 30–29
85 2011 Tempe Arizona 31–27
86 2012 Tucson Arizona State 41–34
87 2013 Tempe Arizona State 58–21
88 2014 Tucson Arizona 42–35
89 2015 Tempe Arizona State 52–37
90 2016 Tucson Arizona 56–35
91 2017 Tempe
Series: Arizona leads 49–40–1


Posted by

Jeffrey Masich, Associate Broker, REALTOR®, MBA, GRI, BS Accounting


Scottsdale, Arizona





This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Local News and Events
arizona state university
university of arizona
territorial cup
dual in the desert
wildcats sundevils rivalry history
asu arizona rivalry
territorial cup football game
kidnapping by asu
roots of rivalry asu arizona
history rivalry arizona asu

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Maria Sapio
Keller Williams of Central PA - Carlisle, PA
Real Estate Agent- Carlisle, PA.

Wishing you a beautiful and joyful Thanksgiving Day - !!

Nov 23, 2017 08:03 AM #1
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

What a fun rivalry. Funny how these get started and if those same situations occurred today, someone would be arrested or be marred for life. We used to have fun just for fun's sake.

Dec 04, 2017 09:56 AM #2
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI

Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell
How much is my home worth?
Spam prevention

Additional Information