Next week House of Sparky will begin our "#SunDevilMoments" tournament, with the 16 best moments from the athletic season. This week we will randomly introduce all 16 moments, then reveal our seedings and match-ups next week, where you, the reader, will vote on what was the ASU athletics Moment of the Year.
It will go down as perhaps the greatest single play in Arizona State history. Jaelen Strong made plenty of highlight reel plays during his tenure in maroon and gold. The one-handed reception for a touchdown against Notre Dame or the numerous leaping catches on back-shoulder fades immediately jump to mind when thinking about Strong.
However, nothing comes close to the Jael Mary. But, before we get to the play, let's set the scene.
The Sun Devils were on the road, October 4, 2014, against the USC Trojans. It was the first game for ASU since getting thrashed by UCLA on national television nine days earlier. Despretly needing a victory to remain in contention in the Pac-12 South, Mike Bercovici led the Sun Devils into the Los Angeles Coliseum.
After falling down 7-0 in the first quarter, ASU responded with two touchdown passes from Bercovici to Strong to take a 15-7 lead midway through the second quarter. USC put up 10 points in the final three minutes of the first half to take a 17-15 lead into halftime.
The teams exchanged field goals in the third quarter as USC led 20-18 heading into the fourth. After a Cody Kessler 8-yard touchdown run gave USC a 27-18 lead, Bercovici found D.J. Foster for a 21-yard touchdown pass to pull ASU to within 27-25.
However, with 3:04 left in the game, Buck Allen burned the ASU defense for a 53-yard touchdown run to give USC a seemingly commanding 34-25 lead. Allen on the day rushed for 143 yards on 29 carries.
The Sun Devils responded with a touchdown of their own 19 seconds later, when Bercovici found Cam Smith for a 73-yard touchdown pass. The Sun Devils trailed 34-32 with 2:43 minutes left. The defense forced a punt and the offense received the ball back with 23 seconds left and 78 yards to the endzone.
On the second play of the drive, Bercovici found Gary Chambers for 26 yards, but the Sun Devils were unable to get the ball within field goal range. With seven seconds left, ASU snapped the ball from the USC 46-yard line. Bercovici wound up and heaved a shot towards USC end zone. That is when Strong made the greatest play of his ASU career as he cut his route inside and made a leaping catch at the goal line for a touchdown.
The Jael Mary was born.
We saw the Jael Mary as the top moment from the ASU athletic season, however it will be up the readers to see how far this moment goes in our #SunDevilMoments bracket.