TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Mike Willie #1 and teammate Jamal Miles #32 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrate a touchdown against the University of Southern California at Sun Devil Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
What a great night to be a Sun Devil. After 12 years of agony at the hands of the USC Trojans, ASU finally broke through in a huge way on Saturday night, winning 43-22 in their first-ever Pac-12 conference game.
The second half was such a pleasant surprise. After struggling all season long in the third and fourth quarters, coming up with 15 points was nice to see. On top of that, the ASU defense held USC to only 13 points in the second half. The Trojans turned the ball over twice in the fourth and four times overall, and Matt Barkley did not impress.
Cameron Marshall had 141 yards rushing, including a 70-yard touchdown in the first. But you know all about the statistics behind this massive win. This is bigger than a victory over a conference rival. This is the biggest Sun Devils victory in the past ten seasons.
We're undefeated in the Pac-12. We control our own destiny to earn a spot in the first-ever Pac-12 Championship Game. Luckily, we do not have to face Stanford or Andrew Luck in the regular season, so one bullet is already dodged.
Watching this game, it didn't even look like the Sun Devils. It looked like an incredibly athletic football team. Mike Willie, Jamal Miles, and Kyle Middlebrooks showed off flashes of brilliance with the football in their hands, promising an extremely bright future in the desert for Arizona State.
After so many years of suffering, this win puts a big smile on my face. And that's why I watch sports -- to be reminded that good things can happen to those who work hard, prepare dutifully and execute relentlessly. Congratulations to the Sun Devils on this incredible night.
"This one's for you," coach Dennis Erickson said after the game. That's what I want to hear.