After four straight losses, our game ball post seemed sarcastic and unneeded. Now, ASU has finally become bowl eligible by defeating WSU 46-7, hence why this weekly feature is back and prospering.
The Sun Devils sport some positive momentum heading into U of A for this year's annual Territorial Cup battle. Lots of players and coaches helped place ASU back on the train tracks, and therefore practically everyone deserves hardware.
Saturday marked the final home contest for 17 seniors. However, only about nine made significant contributions during their tenures as Sun Devils.
"We'll be forever indebted to laying a great foundation for this program. The way these guys played today was exactly how you would script a senior day," Todd Graham said. "Totally dominated both sides of the ball."
Bursting out of the Tillman Tunnel to partake in live game action will never happen again for these young men. Two elder Devils' went out in excellent fashion, wide receiver Rashad Ross and Safety Keelan Johnson.
Rashad Ross has been struggling on and off throughout the entire 2012 campaign. The small and speedy California native was at times ASU's biggest weapon this season, yet also had his struggles. Against Washington State, Ross posted eight receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
In addition, Keelan Johnson tallied two interceptions. Johnson's four picks on the season are tied for 13th in the FBS. ASU's pass defense is stingy, allowing a conference-best 174.2 yards per matchup. The terrific performance is a collective effort, but Johnson's big day lead the way.
Norv Turner is notoriously known for bad coaching; therefore Todd Graham earns the Anti-Turner award. Turner's teams often quit, are undisciplined and don't buy into his system. Conversely, Graham's ball club does the exact opposite, always supplying 100-percent effort, showcasing a blue-collar mentality while trusting his philosophy.
Nobody enjoys losing, whether it's a video game or big time college football. Matter of fact, if I lose four times in a row I often want to punch the wall. Instead of allowing frustration to set in, Graham used it as motivation against WSU.
Graham did not panic, rather putting together a comprehensive game plan to get ASU bowl eligible. Dennis Erickson let last year spiral out of control, Graham kept on plugging. The outlook in Tempe was bleak, yet could end up a successful 8-5 overall.
The previously stated items became normality during the Devil's skid. Todd Graham and offensive coordinator Mike Norvell never acknowledged making a change, and rightfully so.
Obviously the critics were loud but are temporarily silenced because Kelly proved to be a comeback player via 246 yards, four touchdowns and no turnovers. Let alone, Kelly is on pace to break school records.
Andrew Walter's all-time touchdown mark at 30 could be broken, and the 66.2 percent completion percentage stat is in serious jeopardy. Right now, Kelly has accumulated 25 touchdown tosses and owns a 66.9 completion percentage.
Benching Kelly wasn't or isn't a realistic or quality option. The real question is, how can we surround him with better talent? Kelly needs to improve going forward, but has displayed great omens of productive quarterbacking.