Round of 32
Region 4: Team Achievements
No. 1 "ASU Dominants Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl" vs. No 8 "Lacrosse Makes Final Four"
The case for the "Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:" Some folks for have pep rallies to get pumped up for an upcoming season. Others get the hype train started by putting on an utterly dominating postseason performance. Arizona State football falls into that second category.
In the Sun Devils 62-28 spanking of the Navy Midshipmen, ASU accumulated two times as many first downs and 298 yards more of total offense than their opposition despite having the ball for nearly seven less minutes. Powered by Marion Grice's emotionally unforgettable performance (159 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and Taylor Kelly's marksman-like precision (17-for-19, 268 yards, four touchdowns), the Sun Devils straight routed Navy from the coin flip.
Yes, the Midshipmen weren't the most bowl-worthy of teams but the victory gave the Sun Devils their most wins since 2007 and their first bowl win since 2005. The bowl game/Territorial Cup victory combination also was only the second time Arizona State has accomplished both feats in a single season in the last 33 years.
Yet the most rewarding part of all was to see Todd Graham's "high octane" vision come to fruition after one year of hard work. The Sun Devils had seven touchdown drives of over 60 yards in the first three quarters yet only got to third down three times. Those are certainly some numbers to build on heading into 2013. -Cody Ulm
The case for "Lacrosse in the Final Four:" Payson Clark. Justin Straker. Dan Davis. If you're a devoted Sun Devil athletics fan, you still might not know these names. But you should. The trio above formed one of the most successful attack lines in Arizona State lacrosse history and propelled the Sun Devils to their fourth straight final four.
Like ASU Hockey, lacrosse is a club sport and doesn't compete at the NCAA level. However, like hockey, club lacrosse has become increasingly competitive and 2013 was a banner year for the sport. Teams from across the country pulled in top-notch recruiting classes and Arizona State was no different. Sun Devil standouts like Preston Anderson and Jackson Browne joined coach Chris Malone's recruiting class in hopes of building a legacy in the desert.
And that's exactly what this team did. The Sun Devils overcame losses to two conference rivals (Chapman and Grand Canyon) to demolish the Arizona Wildcats before heading to the MCLA Tournament. Upon arrival, ASU thrashed two opponents by 10 goal margins before ultimately succumbing to National Runner-Up Colorado by one goal. ASU Lacrosse made its fourth consecutive MCLA final four this season, and hope abounds for next year. Though this team might be anonymous to some Sun Devil fans, it deserves recognition and deserves to move on. -Kerry Crowley