Round of 32
Region 4: Team Accomplishments Region
No. 3 "Softball's 21-Game Winning Streak" vs. No. 6 "Football's First Win"
The Case for Softball: It's hard to imagine a team beginning a season in more dominant fashion than the ASU Softball team did this year. The Sun Devils opened the year with 21 consecutive victories including an incredible 10 mercy-rule victories. Dallas Escobedo and company charged out of the gates and swept a pair of tournaments that included teams from all around the country.
While the Sun Devils avoided playing a ranked team in their first 21, the streak is no less impressive because of the style of victories Arizona State recorded. On many occasions, Dallas Escobedo and company were forced to play twice in one day and early morning contests after late-night games. Remarkably, the Sun Devils never lost focus until ultimately succumbing to the No. 20 Baylor Bears nearly a full month after the season started.
The 21-game streak to begin the season is Arizona State's longest ever to start the season and will go down as one of the best starts ever to a collegiate softball campaign. In total, the Sun Devils allowed one run or less in 13 of the 21 victories as well. To say that one football win could take down this No. 3 seed would be a stunning upset.
The Case for Football: Sure, it was only against Northern Arizona University but Todd Graham made certain style points were factored into his first career victory at ASU. The rout was on from the opening kickoff with the Sun Devils jumping out to a 42-0 halftime lead thanks to three turnovers and five rushing touchdowns. Arizona State finished the day with seven total rushing touchdowns and newcomer Marion Grice lead the way with 107 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on 14 totes.
Although he didn't finish with the flashiest of lines (15-for-19, 247 yards, one touchdown), Taylor Kelly also rewarded Graham's confidence by looking like a steady veteran instead of the question mark many fans thought he might be. It was a coming out party for many but no more so than Graham himself. After preaching the "high octane" moniker over and over, it finally came to fruition that Thursday in Tempe. And the city and the program would never be the same again.