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#SunDevilMoments Series: No. 1 Jael Mary vs. No. 8 Bobby Hurley hired at ASU

The final Elite 8 matchup features two moments that possibly saved both of their respective programs.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, ASU football's victory over Notre Dame became an almost unanimous favorite to move on to the Final Four, beating John Rahm's Ben Hogan Award reception 94-6. This is how our bracket looks as this matchup will close the Elite Eight:

Seed No. 1: The Jael Mary

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.

- Ryan Bafaloukos

Seed No. 8: ASU hires Bobby Hurley

In most seasons, a postseason victory over the defending national champions would qualify as a shining moment in a successful campaign. But for ASU, it was one of few moments of exhilaration the team experienced in the 2014-15 season.

Following Arizona State bowing out of the NIT in the second round, head coach Herb Sendek was let go after nine seasons at the head of Sun Devil basketball. Sendek's tenure had mixed success, making a pair of runs to the NCAA tournament, but failing to permanently ascend the Sun Devils into the upper echelon of college basketball finally cost him following ASU's 18-16 season.

After a two week search, Ray Anderson announced the hiring of Bobby Hurley, who had led Buffalo to its first conference championship and first NCAA Tournament appearance in just his second season at the reins. While his limited coaching history bodes well, it's Hurley's pedigree as a player that made his hiring a national news story.

A point guard at Duke from 1989-1993, Hurley was the field general for a Blue Devils team that experienced an extraordinary run of success. Hurley went to three Final Fours in his time in Durham, bringing home a pair of championships en route to becoming the NCAA all-time leader in assists.

Hurley's NBA career is more notable for the near-fatal car crash he endured in his rookie season for the Sacramento Kings than it is the six years he spent with the team, but the former Blue Devil ranks as one of the greatest collegiate basketball players the game's known.

After retiring and spending a few years owning and breeding racehorses, Hurley returned to the game in 2010 as an assistant coach at Wagner, joining his older brother's staff. When Dan Hurley moved to Rhode Island in 2012, Bobby followed, and after a season of working as an associate head coach earned his shot at Buffalo. Two MAC East Division titles and a 2015 MAC Tournament championship later, Hurley had shown Anderson enough to warrant his hire at ASU.

Hurley's father Bob Hurley Sr. is a legendary high school basketball coach at St. Anthony High School in New Jersey, and won four of his 27 state titles with his son running point. In his introductory press conference, Hurley referenced both his father and his coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, fresh off another national championship, as major influences to his coaching style.

If he experiences success anywhere near that of the two Basketball Hall of Famers, this moment will go down as one of the best decisions made in program history.

- Shane Theodore