Despite a solid defensive effort, the Sun Devils were unable to put up enough points offensively in a loss to #12 USC.
Coach Erickson finally benched Danny Sullivan in favor of true freshman Brock Osweiler, who delivered a nicely placed TD pass to Chris McGaha in the 3rd quarter to bring the score to 14-9.
Despite the penalties mounting against the Sun Devil defense, ASU was able to make key stops throughout the second half. They were countered by a Trojan defense that stepped up as the game went along.
On one of the craziest plays ever witnessed, USC QB Matt Barkley threw a pass to his right that was deflected by an ASU defensive back, nearly caught by two USC WR's. As the ball careened towards the ground, it was kicked into Terrell Carr's hands, and Carr ran it back 20 yards where he was stripped by a USC player, which then went right into the arms of another ASU player.
In total, the ball touched ten players on that one play (if you include the USC center and Barkley in the total). Unfortunately, this drive yielded nothing but a Trevor Hankins punt.
After several defensive stands by both USC and ASU, the Sun Devils found themselves on their own 22 with 1:56 left in the fourth. Osweiler ran the ball on two separate occasions to get the first down, and with 1:22 left ASU was at its own 35.
Despite ASU's best efforts, the Sun Devils couldn't come up with another TD, and the clock expired on a Hail Mary pitch by Osweiler into the arms of three USC backs.
The real question here, however, is why did it take so long to make this QB switch? Why wait until the biggest game of the year to finally admit your mistake?
In playing Danny Sullivan for 8 ½ games this season, the team was held back by its coaching staff and limited by the immobility and lack of overall talent of its QB.
In the end, ASU could have a much better record than 4-5 with a different QB at the helm. Of course, that's merely theoretical, but we all know just how mediocre Sullivan is.
Anyway, this game could have gone much worse, and I can tell that ASU is going to be good in the next few years. Watch out, Pac-10.