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ASU Football Best Games 2012: Chris Coyle

We continue our Best Games series with a performance that brought back Tight End U

(Photo: ASU)

Over the 2010 and 2011 seasons, the tight end position had been almost entirely neutralized as an offensive threat in the Arizona State scheme. During Noel Mazzone's tenure as the Sun Devils' offensive coordinator, the entire production from the position amounted to just eight catches for 76 yards and a touchdown, all from Trevor Kohl.

With the new offense under Mike Norvell, fans were promised that the team's new 3-back position would help to bring back the days of "Tight End U" to Tempe. With a player as talented as Chris Coyle at Norvell's disposal, there was optimism behind that claim.

Five months later, Coyle now stands as the single-season reception record holder among ASU tight ends, surpassing greats like Zach Miller and Todd Heap in the process. In his first season as a starter, he hauled in 57 passes for 696 yards and five touchdowns, and his march to the record books began with a Week 2 coming out party.

Chris Coyle's Stat Line vs. Illinois: 10 receptions, 131 yards, 2 touchdowns

The evening started a little quietly for Coyle, as he was not targeted on ASU's opening possession. He did begin the team's second drive with a nice 20-yard reception.

Things started to get interesting later in the quarter, when Coyle caught back-to-back passes, the first for 19 yards then the second for 30 down to the Illini two-yard line, which set up a Cameron Marshall scoring run.

On ASU's next possession, coming in the second quarter, Norvell put in backup quarterback Miachel Eubank, and the redshirt freshman immediately took a liking to Coyle. He connected with Coyle three times on the drive, the final one being a one-yard touchdown that marked the first career touchdown reception and pass for each player.

But that duo was not done.

After a Carlos Mendoza interception returned possession to ASU, Taylor Kelly marched the Sun Devils down the field. At the Illini three-yard line, Eubank came back into the game and went to his new favorite target for the touchdown that gave ASU a commanding 28-7 lead.

That punctuated a dominant first half for Coyle in which he had seven catches for 101 yards and the pair of scores. Illinois had no answer for the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Coyle, and if not for ASU's commanding lead, the damage in the second half would have been greater.

As it was, he had "just" three catches for 30 yards after halftime, but it nevertheless marked Coyle's best game as a Sun Devil, and the resurrection of a once great position.

Coyle's Second-Best Game: at USC - 5 receptions, 85 yards and a touchdown.

Other Entries in the "Best Games Series

D.J. Foster | Marion Grice | Carl Bradford