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Nick Wilson helps Arizona win Pac-12 South vs. Arizona State


With the Pac-12 South title on the line, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez and Arizona State coach Todd Graham both said they would not want to know the score of the UCLA-Stanford game until after they walked off the field in Tucson on Friday afternoon.

Who knows if they waited until the end to find out the Cardinal upended the Bruins, giving the division to the winner of the Territorial Cup, but it probably wouldn't have mattered to either of the rivals in their first meeting as ranked teams in 28 years the way each played in the second half.

It certainly didn't affect the play of Wildcats running back Nick Wilson and star linebacker Scooby Wright III. 

Wilson ran wild on the Sun Devils defense, racking up 177 yards and three touchdowns, helping Arizona advance to the Pac-12 Championship Game against Oregon next week.

Wilson busted several long runs, highlighted by his zig-zagging 72-yarder in the third quarter. The performance was much needed because of the status of quarterback Anu Solomon, who entered the game listed as questionable. Solomon wound up completing 15 of 21 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns against Graham's blitz-happy attack, which sacked him four times.

Wright -- a Bednarik, Nagurski and Lombardi Awards finalist -- had a major impact on the outcome from the start. He forced a fumble on the opening series, leading to a 25-yard return for a touchdown, and recorded a sack. Even beyond the box score, Wright was everywhere on the field and was a disruptive force on nearly every play. A sophomore, he has drawn rave reviews for his play this season and showed why Friday.

Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly didn't have a great outing in his final battle with his in-state rivals, eventually leaving the game in the fourth quarter and getting replaced by backup Michael Bercovici.

Both signal-callers tried to get the ball to receiver Jaelen Strong, who just missed out on being named a Biletnikoff Award finalist earlier in the week but showed why he was still one of the best wideouts in the country. He had four catches for 80 yards and a touchdown, but appeared to be limited in parts of the game in his first game back since suffering a concussion.

The win sets up a juicy rematch at Levi's Stadium between Arizona and Oregon next Friday. The Wildcats have won the last two in the series and are certainly running high after the kind of year they've put together, complete with an impressive win over their rivals.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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