24 hours after kickoff, and I'm still at a loss. There was a lot to like about the Sun Devils yesterday, from their speed to the play calling.
In 2009, ASU was plagued with slow, safe players and moribund running schemes. The quarterback was unable to make accurate throws, and the team showed no confidence in itself.
Traveling to Madison, the Sun Devils weren't supposed to have a chance. But this team has swagger, speed, and a chip on their shoulders. We are looking at a team that ran wild on special teams, and showed the nation that they can hang with anyone.
Steven Threet, QB: Threet is surprisingly mobile, moving around in the pocket, avoiding sacks, and making accurate throws on the run. After this performance, Sun Devil fans have to be very happy that he will be around next season.
Vontaze Burfict, MLB: Burfict stepped up and played a strong game, but he missed a few assignments and was baited on a few play actions and running plays. He is still young and will mature into one of the best linebackers in the nation.
Deantre Lewis, RB: Lewis is insanely fast. In the preseason, the coaching staff was very enthusiastic about Lewis and his big play abilities. This was proven yesterday after Lewis picked up 122 yards on only nine carries. This type of talent has been missing in Tempe for the past few seasons - we don't need to worry about that anymore.
Coach Dennis Erickson: This was the type of hard-fought performance you want to see from an Erickson-coached team. One question, though: I know this is a precarious position, but should the Sun Devils have gone for two at the end of the game? It's hard to tell, but looking back on the game, one has to wish that ASU would have risked the tie for the win.
Thomas Weber, K: Weber has not been right since 2008's loss to UNLV. He looks shellshocked on the field, missing an easy field goal in the first quarter and being blocked on an extra point attempt in the 4th. I don't know if it's a mental thing or if he just doesn't have it anymore, but ASU has lost several games over the past two years due to missed kicks and lost opportunities. It just can't happen anymore.
The important thing to take from this game is the skill positions are strong and the defense is hungry. ASU looks prepared to make a solid run in the Pac-10.