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Sun Devils clinch bowl berth with Territorial Cup victory

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter spent the
last week listening to speculation about his future.

And after his Sun Devils whipped arch rival Arizona 28-14
Saturday, clinching a minor bowl berth, Koetter did little to
dispel talk that he may soon be gone.

"It's been my privilege to be the head coach at Arizona State
for the last six seasons, and if this is the end for me, it's a
great way to go out," said Koetter, who beat the Wildcats for the
fourth time in six seasons.

"I don't make the decision on that," Koetter said. "I've got
the utmost respect for (athletic director) Lisa Love, utmost
respect for (ASU) President (Michael) Crow. They're the
decision-makers on that. They have to do what they think is best
for Arizona State."

Questions about Koetter's future swirled at the end of another
emotional, hard-hitting showdown for the 107-year-old Territorial
Cup, the oldest rivalry trophy in major-college football. Love and
Crow attended the game and participated in the postgame trophy
ceremony but did not speak to the media.

It's obvious how the Sun Devils feel about Koetter, who has
three years remaining on a contract worth $2.85 million.

"If a change is made, hypothetically, that would just be dumb,
flat-out," ASU safety Josh Barrett said.

Ryan Torain, who rushed for 139 yards, was named MVP. A
junior-college transfer, Torain thanked Koetter for offering him a
scholarship.

Arizona State (7-5, 4-5 in the Pac-10) could be headed to the
Las Vegas or Emerald Bowl, both of which sent representatives to
the game. It will be the third straight bowl bid for the Sun
Devils.

The Wildcats (6-6, 4-5), who snapped a three-game win streak,
are bowl-eligible but are not guaranteed their first postseason bid
since 1998.

"We didn't play with the energy you need in a big game like
this," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "I don't know why. It is
just the psychology of football. Nobody really understands it. They
wanted it more than we did, simple fact."

It was clear that the Sun Devils had plenty of motivation -- and
it sprung from rumors that Koetter's job might be on the line. ASU
raced out of the locker room and grabbed a 21-0 first-quarter lead.

"We wanted to do it for him," said quarterback Rudy Carpenter,
who threw for 214 yards and three touchdowns. "I know people have
short memories. You beat your rival, they're going to forget about
a lot of things."

In a controversial move at the end of training camp, Koetter
declared Sam Keller his starting quarterback, then gave the job to
Carpenter two days later. Keller soon transferred to Nebraska and
Carpenter struggled at times.

Before the game, Arizona fans chanted "We want Keller!" as
Carpenter warmed up in the end zone.

"I just laughed at them," Carpenter said. "They all think
they know. We got up 21-0, they didn't have much to say after
that."

Carpenter, a sophomore, led the Sun Devils to a victory over
Arizona for the second year in a row. Although he threw three
touchdown passes, Carpenter also was intercepted and fumbled deep
in Wildcat territory in the first half, but he managed the game
well after intermission.

"It feels good to beat U of A," Carpenter said. "It's good
for our program, it's good for our team and it's good for our
coach. People make a big deal about coach. He's done a lot for us.
We all appreciate that. He gave a lot of us a chance and we never
had one.

"Hopefully, our administration will make the right decision,"
Carpenter said.

For the second year in a row, the Sun Devils knocked Arizona
quarterback Willie Tuitama out of the game. Tuitama, who was
sidelined with a concussion earlier this season, left the game
after receiving a late hit midway through the second quarter.
Stoops said Tuitama had suffered a "slight concussion."

Adam Austin replaced Tuitama and completed 11-of-30 passes for
99 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

"When they knocked Willie out, Adam came in rusty," Stoops
said. "When they took that cheap shot and knocked him out,
(Austin) had just started to warm up. It stopped our ability to
move the football."

ASU outgained Arizona 429 yards to 168.

After the game, hundreds of ASU fans cheered as the Sun Devils
hoisted the Territorial Cup in an otherwise deserted Arizona
Stadium. Koetter was happy with the victory. But he also seemed
philosophical as he talked about the job he's done at ASU, where he
is 40-33 and has led the team to three straight bowl appearances.

"Everyone thinks it's a walk in the park to maintain a college
football program in the Pac-10," Koetter said. "There's 10 good
football programs in the Pac-10. They're all trying to get to bowl
games. Everyone thinks it's just so easy to do it. It's not that
easy."