Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
Time to feel sick to your stomach one again as we rehash ASU's heartbreaking, 45-43 loss to the UCLA Bruins.
Sixty-five yards in 93 seconds; that's all it took for UCLA to deliver the swift kick to the groin that would ultimately keep Arizona State out of their first ever Pac-12 Championship.
Although Sun Devil nation weren't entirely aware of the consequences that came with that 33-yard field goal off the foot of Ka'imi Fairbairn at the time, there was still an ominous feeling left lingering around Frank Kush Field that Saturday afternoon.
Sure, some might point out the fact that this particular game was lost back at the end of the first half when Taylor Kelly heaved up his most mind-boggling pass of the year, giving the Bruins the easiest touchdown they'd get all year. But all those frustrations were forgotten when Kelly willed his offense down the field for two consecutive clutch fourth quarter drives to recapture a late lead.
All that was left then was for ASU's durable defense to continue doing what they had done all season and come up with one more stop. And that's exactly what they were unable to do.
Following a touchdown, Arizona prep phenom Brett Hundley proceeded to rip out the hearts of the same Sun Devils he spurned for the city of Los Angeles. With down field strikes of 14, 7, 11 and 8 yards, Hundley calmly marched UCLA down the field to complete his storybook homecoming. All that he left in his path of destruction was agonizing flashbacks of another late season collapse on par with 2011's excruciating downfall.
Luckily for the maroon and gold faithful, these Sun Devils proved to be far more resilient than any roster Dennis Erickson offered up. Yes, two more losses followed this one but Todd Graham managed to get his men back on track to ensure 2012 wouldn't end with the all-too-familiar taste of self-implosion.
With the Territorial Cup back in Tempe and a resounding message sent to the rest of the Pac-12 following ASU's 62-28 bowl victory, there probably aren't too many fans still losing sleep over the events of Oct. 27. Nevertheless, I'm sure there are some what-iffers out there like myself who have gotten lost in their own heads from time to time playing out an imaginary battle between Stanford and Arizona State.
Because let's face it gang, there isn't much worse than missing an opportunity to smell the roses in Pasadena.