Suggs being Suggs (Photo: ASU)
Continuing our countdown of 100 reasons to love ASU football in the 100 days leading up to the 2012 season is No. 99, a Pac-10 quarterback's worst nightmare: the 2002 season of Terrell Suggs.
Coming into the year, Suggs--a local product from Hamilton High School--was already one of the better pass rushers in the Pac-10. As true freshman, he registered 10 sacks, won the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award and a spot on countless Freshman All-American squads.
He replicated that as a sophomore in 2001, again posting 10 sacks and forcing four fumbles en route to a first team All-Pac-10 selection. Without question, a great start to a career and a fantastic foundation for the future, but what happened in 2002 was unprecedented, and to this day, unmatched.
It started out promisingly enough. A sack in the otherwise forgettable blowout season-opening loss to No. 10 Nebraska. Three more against an undermanned Eastern Washington team from the I-AA ranks. But then he registered another sack hat trick the next game against Central Florida. And then another sack against San Diego State.
Somehow, Stanford was able to stop him, one of only two games during that season that Suggs didn't "ball so hard" on an opposing quarterback. He more than made up for that shutout the next week against North Carolina, collecting four quarterback takedowns. Not even halfway through the season, and Suggs had eclipsed his career-high and was eyeing the NCAA single-season record of 17.5.
He collected one against Oregon State before his second shutout of the year, thanks to the resilient Oregon Ducks. But like the last time he failed to reach a quarterback, he rebounded with a dominant performance. The victim? Washington's Cody Pickett, who was sacked eight times on the day, 4.5 by Suggs. That gave him a share of the record Syracuse's Dwight Freeney had set in 2001, but with four games left, plus a bowl, he was to obliterate that mark.
By the time he made a pair of sacks against Arizona to help end ASU's three-game skid with a Territorial Cup victory, he had an amazing 22 on the year. For good measure, he added another two in the Holiday Bowl against Kansas State to set the still standing record of 24 sacks in a single year.
With 44 career sacks, Suggs also set the NCAA's career sack mark--another mark yet untouched. And of course, he was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and won the Nagurski Award, Hendricks Award and Lombardi Award, in addition to every conceivable All-American team.
See the previous entries on our 100 day countdown here.