When Arizona State unveiled a new uniform set before the 2011 season, one of the new and most-discussed additions was the "Blackout" games that the Sun Devils prepped their fans for. Arizona State has worn the all-black uniforms five times (including four blackout home games) since its introduction, compiling a mediocre 2-3 record (2-2 in blackout games).
However, the blackout games, win or lose, still have gone down as some of the better games in the program's recent history. The Sun Devils will take the field Thursday night in their all-black threads, when they host UCLA in a primetime conference showdown between top-15 teams. Before Arizona State adds another chapter to the "Book of Blackout," let's take a look back at how the Sun Devils have fared in their previous blackout games.
Sept. 9, 2011 vs Mizzou
Hosting Missouri for a nationally-televised Friday night game, the Sun Devils decided to bring out their black threads for the first time. Quarterback Brock Osweiler paced Arizona State throughout the night, throwing two touchdowns to Aaron Pflugrad and rushing for a 12-yard score as the Sun Devils held a 30-16 lead in the fourth quarter. But a pair of James Franklin touchdown passes tied the game up late in regulation. The Sun Devils got the ball back with 2:50 remaining looking to win the game, but a sack of Osweiler sandwiched by two incompletions ended Arizona State's drive early. Missouri took over with 1:27 at their own 8, and mounted a 62-yard drive that set them up with a 48-yard field goal to win the game. Mizzou kicker Grant Ressel couldn't convert, missing wide left to send the game to extra time.
In overtime, Arizona State got the ball first, and an Osweiler 12-yard pass to Jamal Miles put them up 37-30. In Missouri's possession, Franklin twice rushed the ball for no gain and wasn't able to convert on a fourth down, wrapping up the game for the Sun Devils.
Nov. 19, 2011 vs Arizona
With a 1-0 record in the black uniforms and a current losing streak, Arizona State opted to bring out the blackout again for its yearly showdown with arch-rival Arizona. The Wildcats jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, but an Osweiler touchdown pass to Gerell Robinson and a pair of Cameron Marshall touchdowns helped the Sun Devils claw back and take a 21-14 lead.
In the second half, Arizona State's offense went cold in the red zone, failing to cash-in two opportunities within the 10-yard line. Arizona State settled for field goals on both possessions. Meanwhile, Nick Foles and the Wildcats stormed back, scoring two touchdowns to take a 31-27 lead with 5:18 left. Arizona State drove to Arizona's 23-yard line before Osweiler threw an interception to Jourdon Grandon. The Sun Devil defense forced a punt, and Osweiler drove Arizona State all the way to the 15-yard line, and took two shots at the end zone for Mike Willie. Neither were complete and time expired on the Sun Devils in a heartbreaking 31-27 loss. The loss would end up as one of the defining moments in why Dennis Erickson was let go after the conclusion of the 2011 season.
Oct. 18, 2012 vs Oregon
Boasting a 5-1 record to start out the Todd Graham era, Arizona State really emphasized the Thursday night blackout against Oregon, promoting the "Blackout the Duck" campaign on YouTube and social media. What they received was an electric atmosphere in Sun Devil Stadium, as 71,000 fans came out to watch the Sun Devils try to knock off the No. 2 Ducks.
Arizona State took an early lead over the visiting Ducks, as a 28-yard pass from Taylor Kelly to Kevin Ozier put the Sun Devils up 7-0. Then it all fell apart. Oregon exploded for 43 straight points, all coming before the conclusion of the first half. With the game's outcome well decided, Arizona State scored a pair of garbage time touchdowns to bring the final score to a seemingly-respectable 43-21 loss that masked what was really a humiliation at home.
Sept. 14, 2013 vs Wisconsin
Arizona State's first usage of its all-black kits in 2013 came against No. 20 Wisconsin. Unranked after a week one blowout of Sacramento State, the Sun Devils looked to the Wisconsin game as a possible statement non-conference win for both them and the Pac-12.
Tight throughout, the Sun Devils held a slim 14-13 lead at the half. A Melvin Gordon 80-yard run opened the second half with a bang for Wisconsin, but Arizona State's Marion Grice answered at the end of the third quarter with a one-yard touchdown plunge. A failed two-point conversion meant that Arizona State trailed 21-19, but a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns put them up 32-24. Wisconsin's Gordon answered with a short touchdown, but the Badgers' two-point try failed, handing the ball back to Arizona State with its lead intact at 32-30. A total of three two-point conversion tries were attempted that night, and all three failed.
The Sun Devils weren't able to run the clock out or add to their lead, and Wisconsin got the ball back with a chance to nab a big road win. Arizona State had Wisconsin at 3rd and 4 at their 23-yard line, but the Sun Devils gave up a strike to Jeff Duckworth that spanned 51 yards. The Badgers had the ball at Arizona State's 13 yard line, and quarterback Joel Stave took a knee to set up the ball in the middle of the field for a field goal. However, the ball touched down before he did, and when confusion arose in the aftermath as Arizona State players jumped on the ball as if it was a fumble, the clock kept ticking and ticking until it expired before Wisconsin could get a play off. It remains one of, if not the wackiest ending to a game in either program's history.
October 5th, 2013 vs Notre Dame
Eds: This is, to date, the only time the Sun Devils have worn their all-black threads away from Sun Devil Stadium. While the "Blackout" games are only at Sun Devil Stadium, they did wear all-black jerseys for the game in North Texas.
Arizona State's second primetime non-conference game of the year took place in the gigantic AT&T Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. They took on unranked Notre Dame, which had lost quarterback Everett Golson, who led the Fighting Irish to the 2012 National Championship Game. Arizona State wore a special edition of the all-black unis for this big-time matchup, adding flames to their helmet for the occasion. This game was huge for both the 2013 team and future teams, as an impressive performance in "Jerry World" would turn the heads of high school players in the talent-laden state of Texas.
Replacing Golson as Notre Dame's starting quarterback, Tommy Rees threw three touchdowns against the Sun Devils, and the Fighting irish owned a 24-13 lead in the fourth quarter. But Arizona State rallied, sparked by a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown from cornerback Osahon Irabor. The two teams traded scoring drives, and the Sun Devils ended up with the ball at their 1-yard line with a chance to tie or win the game, down 30-27. On the first play of the drive, Kelly threw a pick-six to Dan Fox, effectively ending the game. Arizona State scored a late touchdown to pull it to 37-34, but there wasn't enough time to mount another drive and the Sun Devils fell in its primetime showdown against the Fighting Irish.