It was a crisp December evening at Arizona Stadium as the Sun Devils and the Wildcats faced off in the Territorial Cup. ASU had won only four of their first ten games, while Arizona shocked the college football world by jumping out to a 7-1 record. With the season nearing its conclusion, Arizona was reeling, having lost three straight games prior to playing ASU.
The story has been told a million times by Sun Devil fans. Today, I tell the tale from my perspective, standing at the 25-yard line next to the Sun Devil bench.
I'm 23 years old, a little over a year out of college, and I've met many of the players on the field from class and from media events. Around my neck is an all-access pass with an Arizona logo on it. I feel dirty.
Arizona allows media members on the field with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter. 51 seconds prior, the Devils took a 20-14 lead; I couldn't bear to be in the press box any longer. I knew this was going to be a big finish, and being in the middle of it would be a memorable experience.
On the final Arizona drive, Nick Foles led the Wildcats down the field with confidence. After converting a fourth down pass to David Douglas, an eerie feeling of impending doom clouded my mind. This just felt like the perfect storm. Then, with 27 seconds remaining, the knockout punch: Foles connected with Douglas once again for a touchdown, tying the score at 20.
JediASU shows us what happened next...
"It didn't really hit me until afterwards," ASU hero James Brooks told Brad Denny on the latest Speak of the Devils podcast. "In the midst of the game, someone had to make a play, with our backs against the wall. It was so fast, I didn't really think about it."
But the story doesn't end there, as we all know.
The Sun Devils got the ball first, and Cameron Marshall punched in a 2-yard touchdown. Weber followed up with a clean extra point, putting all the pressure, once again, on the Arizona offense.
JediASU brings us home with the final minutes of the second overtime, where David Douglas sprints in the endzone on a swing from Foles to put six on the board and bring the score to 30-29. Then, the legend was born.
"We knew all week that he had been struggling and that the trajectory of the kicks were kind of low. It was a crazy experience and a crazy game," Brooks said. "We didn't know if we were going to a bowl or not and it was our last game in Tucson. We hated them, they hated us, we were very excited. Coach really needed that win, and it was a great feeling."
After the second blocked extra point, I almost sprinted on the field with the team. That's generally frowned upon as a member of the media, so I just smiled instead.
"I go down in the books as a Sun Devil forever. More important than getting the glory, I get to be around ASU and the history books forever."
Nothing else needs to be said. Thank you, James Brooks.