Welcome to our new summer series. A lot has happened over Todd Graham's first three seasons as Arizona State's head football coach. Over the next two weeks, we will be ranking 15 of Graham's 28 total wins so far before the 2015 season, which has potential to send the program to new heights. Our next stop was a big nonconference win that was, well, controversial to say the least.
No. 9: Sept. 14, 2013 - Controversial finish hands Sun Devils a 32-20 victory
It's been two years since this game happened, and no one still has a clue how this game ended.
On another blackout game at Sun Devil Stadium that turned out to be wild and wacky once again, the Sun Devils' 32-30 lead was in jeopardy with No. 20 Wisconsin driving down the field in the final minute of the game. All the Badgers needed to do was set up an ideal spot for a game-winning field goal.
But the Badgers never even got to line up for the kick.
With 18 seconds left, Badgers quarterback Joel Stave brought the ball to the middle of the field for ideal position while the clock winded down to the final seconds. However, from many accounts from field level, it looked like Stave simply placed the ball to the ground and didn't kneel. This prompted ASU linebacker Anthony Jones to jump on the ball thinking it was a fumble. While the officials tried to sort out the mass confusion on the field, the clocked expired all the way down to zero by the time the Badgers saw time going down.
The final result brought a controversy spanning the whole nation the next morning, prompting the Pac-12 to reprimand those officials the following week.
It's easy to only talk about the final minute of the game, but the earlier 59 minutes were just as hard-fought. After scoring the first field goal, Arizona State lost the lead at the beginning of the second quarter and didn't get it back until 11:40 left in the game.
The game was a battle of running backs. Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon ran for 193 yards and two touchdowns, while ASU's Marion Grice scored all of the Sun Devils' four touchdowns while recording 84 rushing yards on 22 carries.
WHAT IT DID FOR ASU: The Sun Devils needed this win badly, as it was the first of a four-game gauntlet on their schedule that also included a road game in Stanford, a home game against USC and a neutral-site match against Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas (ASU would go 2-2 on this stretch). Despite the controversial ending, it was still a crucial upset over a ranked team that brought some momentum during the start of a new season. ASU pulled the win out through some of its major early-season issues, like special teams (punter Dom Vizzare mishandled a snap in the Sun Devils' endzone that led to a Wisconsin fumble recovery for a touchdown) and run defense against one of the country's best running teams.
It was redshirt junior safety Damarious Randall's debut with the Sun Devils, who later turned a solid two years with ASU into a ticket to the Green Bay Packers as a first round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.