Is this the greatest play in Sun Devil history? Yeah, probably (Photo: ASU)
Dwight Clark may lay claim to having made "The Catch", but don't go trying to sell any Sun Devils about that. They know that the player who really made "The Catch" is John Jefferson, whose legendary play helped Arizona State secure their most successful season in program history.
November 29, 1975. Tempe, Arizona
The Frank Kush-led Sun Devils are 10-0 and ranked No. 8 in the nation. They hosting the annual battle with Arizona, who are 9-1 and ranked 12th. What's on the line? How about state bragging rights, the WAC championship and a Fiesta Bowl berth.
Oh, is that all?
The Wildcats took an early 14-3 lead in the game, but the Sun Devils had the ball very late in the first half at the Arizona eight-yard line.
ASU dialed up a pass play to take a shot at the end zone. Quarterback Dennis Sproul dropped back, found Jefferson running a slant to the right, and fired off a pass.
The ball sailed wide, seemingly destined for an incompletion. But then...
Jefferson laid out in a full-extension dive, got a hold of the ball, secured it and fell into the endzone and into immortality.
The touchdown cut the Wildcat lead to 14-10 at the half and gave ASU much needed momentum. They outplayed their hated rivals in the second half, and Sproul's touchdown run in the fourth quarter gave the Sun Devils an incredible win and a date with Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl. In that game, ASU won to cap the 12-0 record and a final No. 2 national ranking, the best in school history.
But it all would have been just a dream had it not been for Jefferson making the greatest play in Sun Devil history.