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November 21, 2012
When Arizona State freshman nose tackle Jaxon Hood and his brother, Arizona junior defensive lineman Tevin Hood, meet Friday during the Territorial Cup, one of their parents will be rooting specifically for one team while the rest of the family shares their loyalties.
Hood's father, Charles, was born in Tucson and grew up a Wildcats fan. So despite hoping for individual success for Jaxon, the patriarch will be pulling for an UA victory.
That's just fine with the ASU freshman though.
"I know dad won't be wearing gold, he'll be wearing red and blue," Jaxon said. "But hey, he'll be crying after the game."
With the game being played Friday, the Hood family will have to postpone its Thanksgiving plans until the weekend, meaning whoever's team wins will have bragging rights at the dinner table.
"I'm guessing Sunday we'll do Thanksgiving, we'll see if we're both willing to show up," Jaxon said. "Right now we're focused on helping our teams win the game and trying to act mature. There will be more trash talk after the game."
Growing up with a multi-year age difference between them, the brothers didn't compete much in organized sports, but they did do battle in the friendly confines of the family home.
"Besides pretty intense games of backyard football, wrestling and me beating up on him in basketball, this is the first time we'll play for real," Jaxon said. "We're competitive though so it's nothing new. It'll be more controlled than we're used to actually."
As for Tevin, he graduated from Chandler Hamilton like his younger brother but made two prior collegiate stops before arriving in Tucson. He spent his freshman year at Duke then transferred to San Diego.
"I'm just treating this game like any other game but there is a different intensity," Tevin said. "This will be the first time that I will play against my brother. I never played against or with him but I'm not going out of my way to say anything to my brother."
For both of the Hood brothers, Friday will mark their first time playing for the Territorial Cup, a game they watched every year growing up.
"It's going to be fun, I remember watching the game with James Brooks blocking the two field goals," Jaxon said. "This is the reason why you stay in state. I'm very excited."
As one of two true freshman starters for ASU and the only one on defense, Hood has made 22 tackles so far this season to go along with three sacks.
"I don't know if I've ever had a freshman defensive lineman start every game like he has," ASU coach Todd Graham said. "He's a great man with great character."
Hubner unaffected by award snub
Despite ranking third in the nation in yards per punt with 46.83, ASU senior punter Josh Hubner wasn't selected as a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation's best punter.
Instead, reigning winner Ryan Allen from Louisiana Tech, Kyle Christy from Florida and Scott Kovanda from Ball State were chosen.
Of those three, only Allen averages more yards per punt than Hubner.
But despite being skipped over for the honor, Hubner wasn't particularly upset about the committee's decision, to say the least.
"That's immaterial to me, I don't need some pointless award to convince me I'm good at what I do or make me believe that I'm the best punter in the country," he said. "To me, that's nothing to me. Maybe it's even more motivation to go out there and play better."
While the punter has undoubtedly put together a very strong season in Tempe and likely will be considered for all Pac-12 honors, he hasn't gotten complacent with his work, instead pushing himself further.
"I'm definitely my own worst critic, I'm never really satisfied with my performance," Hubner said. "Every time I go out there and do something big, I feel like I could've done it bigger. I think that's what helps me be successful. I don't think I'll ever accomplish everything I want to, I just have to stay confident."
In advance of Friday's regular season finale in Tucson, the ASU scout team wore blue jerseys in practice this week as opposed to its usual gold.
While UA typically wears blue jerseys for home games, the Wildcats will break out all reds ones when the Sun Devils come to town and recommend fans to "red out" the stadium.
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