TEMPE, Ariz. – Not long after Arizona State’s late rally fell short in an early-season loss at Stanford, receiver Jaelen Strong said he hoped the Sun Devils would get another chance at the Cardinal in the Pac-12 Championship.
He and the Sun Devils get their wish tonight.
In a rematch of a September game filled with huge momentum swings, No. 7 Stanford will take on No. 11 Arizona State with a spot in the Rose Bowl on the line.
Stanford won the initial game 42-28 by racing out to a 29-0 halftime lead and holding on as the Sun Devils scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
The teams took divergent paths to the conference title game from there.
Arizona State (10-2, 8-1) lost to Notre Dame two weeks later, but has been on a roll the past two months, winning seven straight games, their longest streak since opening the 2007 season with eight straight wins.
The Sun Devils have pulled out some big wins along the way, including a victory at UCLA to clinch the Pac-12 South and a home victory over rival Arizona that gave them home-field advantage for today’s game.
Stanford (10-2, 7-2) had a disappointing road loss to unranked Utah to lose control of the Pac-12 North, regained with a victory over Oregon, then lost it again with a loss to Southern California.
The Cardinal clinched the division for good when they beat rival California and the Ducks lost to Arizona on the same weekend.