TEMPE - Playing for nothing but pride, the Arizona Wildcats showed they had a lot.
Jason Johnson passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Wildcats, already saddled with another losing season, finished on the upswing with a 34-21 victory over Arizona State on Friday.
"This whole season felt like kind of an uphill battle," he said. "We kept making crucial mistakes. We just wanted to play smart today, and getting out to a lead helped, and we hung on to win."
Johnson threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Bobby Wade and a 10-yarder to Malosi Leonard and had a 6-yard TD run for the Wildcats (5-6, 2-6 Pac-10), who won the rivalry game for the first time since 1998.
The game ended with a melee at midfield as an Arizona State player ran hard into players exchanging handshakes. Arizona State was sent to the locker room before the Wildcats took possession of the Territorial Cup trophy.
"That has no place on this football team," first-year Sun Devils coach Dirk Koetter said.
Coach John Mackovic, also finishing his first season with a Pac-10 program, expressed disappointment that his players retaliated.
"We were jumping up and down on their logo, and of course their players took exception to that," Mackovic said.
Arizona took a 20-0 lead when Clarence Farmer ran 20 yards to score with 38 seconds left in the first quarter, and went ahead 34-14 on Leonard's scoring grab and a 13-yard interception return by Brandon Nash late in the third quarter.
Nash's score was the highlight of a big defensive effort by the Wildcats. Lance Briggs had three of Arizona's six sacks, and the defense had two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Farmer had 158 yards on 32 carries, and Wade set career highs with 11 catches for 157 yards.
"We're able to send our seniors away with a win," Wade said. "We struggled all year, but we knew if we were able to beat Arizona State we could feel good about our season."
Delvon Flowers had 138 yards on 20 attempts and scored on runs of 33 and 3 yards, and Andrew Walter threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Donnie O'Neal as the Sun Devils (4-6, 1-6) absorbed their fourth straight loss. Arizona State, guaranteed its first losing season and non-bowl postseason in three years, still has UCLA on the schedule Dec. 1.
Flowers' 33-yard burst cut Arizona State's deficit to six points 1:33 into the third quarter.
"I kind of thought it changed the momentum, but unfortunately we went downhill," Flowers said about getting within 20-14.
The Sun Devils went three-and-out twice before the Wildcats scored twice in a 55-second span to go up 34-14.
Johnson started an 80-yard scoring drive with a 12-yard pass to Leonard, and Farmer ran for 24 on the next play. On third-and-6, Johnson hooked up with Wade for 22 yards, and his TD throw to Leonard also came on third down with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
Nash picked off a pass by Jeff Krohn two plays into Arizona State's next possession and ran in untouched with 2:20 to play.
Wade had six catches for 97 yards to help Arizona to its big first-quarter lead.
Arizona State cut the deficit to 20-7 when Walter, a freshman making his first start, threw a 19-yard strike to O'Neal in the back of the end zone just 2:36 into the second quarter.
But the Sun Devils' chance to get closer before halftime ended when Fata Avegalio nailed Flowers, forcing a fumble that safety Jarvie Worcester recovered on the Wildcats 12 with 5:02 remaining in the second quarter.
Krohn, a two-year starter, was back calling signals the next time the Sun Devils got the ball, but was ineffective.
"I should have been able to get the job done, but I didn't," said Krohn, the son of a former Arizona quarterback.
Arizona State tried two trick plays involving tailback Tom Pace, a former prep quarterback. One worked.
On fourth-and-10 in the fourth quarter, Pace threw 33 yards to Daryl Lightfoot to keep the Sun Devils' final scoring drive alive.
Earlier, Pace overthrew Walter on a quarterback-receiver play, and Jermaine Chatman intercepted and returned it 35 yards, setting up Farmer's score with 38 seconds left in the quarter.