House of Sparky is sharing its Top 12 Plays of Christmas series to commemorate the best moments from the Arizona State Sun Devils’ 2016 football season. Follow along as we reveal a new play every day leading up to No. 1, which will be unveiled ahead of Christmas Day.
Our No. 4 Moment of the ASU Football Season: DJ Calhoun’s onside kick return for a touchdown to ice the win against California
2016 was good to DJ Calhoun.
After seeing his production decrease as a sophomore, the third-year linebacker was one of the lone bright spots for the Arizona State defense this season.
Calhoun finished the year with a team-leading 77 total tackles, a sharp increase from his mark of 26 a year ago. His most memorable play, however, came as a member of the Sun Devil hands team.
Needing to recover an onside kick to sew up a victory against the visiting California Golden Bears, the junior did much more than just the catch the ball.
Receiving the once-bounced kick in stride, Calhoun found himself with nothing but green grass in front of him. He then raced 42 yards to the end zone, putting Arizona State ahead 51-41 with just 48 seconds remaining.
The touchdown was the final score of a 31-point fourth quarter for Todd Graham’s team. It also had some implications in Las Vegas as the spread was covered and the over was hit on the play.