Oh, 2009 Sun Devils, we knew thee all too well. From the opening kickoff against Idaho State, all the way through the heart-wrenching loss to Zendejas and the Kitties, we struggled to enjoy this season as fans.
Why is that, exactly? It isn't for a lack of effort on the part of the team. The offense and defense both played admirably, working as hard as they could with the tools they had and the plays that were called.
At times, this team showed potential and a desire to win. But there were just too many obstacles to overcome: an unimaginative running game, horrible kicking from Thomas Weber, and a dearth of prepared talent at the quarterback position.
Was this coaching, or was ASU simply overmatched this season? I daresay it was a bit of both.
Coach Erickson showed he was behind the times in terms of play calling once he took the reins from Rich Olson at the start of the season. Not trying to condemn the man, but his running plays were brutal. Off tackle to the right, anyone?
Lets get this obituary over with, since no one likes torturing themselves.
Apex of the season: The Sun Devils earned their fourth win of the season in incredible fashion, scoring on a last second Hail Mary by Danny Sullivan to a wide open Chris McGaha. At 4-2, enthusiasm for the Devils was at a fever pitch, and everyone thought we might be able to make it to a bowl game.
Barrel-scraping moment(s) of 2009: Where do I begin?
- ASU loses in heartbreaking fashion to Georgia. The Bulldogs scored a game-winning field goal as time expired to win 20-17.
- ASU loses in heartbreaking fashion to California. The Golden Bears scored a game-winning field goal with seconds to play, and Danny Sullivan couldn't lead the Devils to victory on a failed Hail Mary attempt.
- ASU loses in heartbreaking fashion to USC. The Sun Devils are unable to overcome a 5-point deficit and lose 14-9.
- ASU loses in heartbreaking fashion to Arizona. The Wildcats scored a game-winning field goal as time expired to win 20-17. Sound familiar?
This was the year of "close, but no cigar." Hopefully 2010 brings a new offensive philosophy to the Valley, because the defense is absolutely fine.