Yesterday it was ASU Football's win over Notre Dame getting a huge 80-20 share of the vote over ASU Basketball's upset over Arizona to advance to tomorrow's #SunDevilMoments championship round. Which one of the two moments below will join it?
#SunDevilMoments 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
#SunDevilMoments Seed No. 4: Colby Woodmansee's walkoff home run
On February 13, ASU baseball ushered in a new era. The Sun Devils moved away from historic Packard Stadium into the friendlier confines of Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Not only was February 13 the first time the Sun Devils played a game at Phoenix Muni, it was the first game for new head coach Tracy Smith in maroon and gold.
The Sun Devils began the 2015 season hosting No. 5 Oklahoma State and former ASU assistant coach Josh Holliday. ASU struck first in the bottom of the fourth inning with an RBI single from Colby Woodmansee and an RBI double from Dalton Dinatale to jump out to a 2-0 lead.
The Cowboys answered with two runs in the top of the fifth and took a 3-2 lead the next inning when Kevin Bradley singled home Connor Costello.
That lead held until the bottom of the eighth when ASU tied the game at three on a Jordan Aboites RBI double. Ryan Burr threw a scoreless ninth and 10th frame and Woodmansee led off the bottom of the 10th with the game tied. On a 1-2 count, Woodmansee smashed a solo home run to left field to give ASU a 4-3 victory.
That game began a trend that the Sun Devils continued all season. ASU posted six walk-off victories this season and found themselves in tight contests all season.
Video below courtesy Doug Woodmansee and Pac-12 Digital Networks.
- Ryan Bafaloukos