After a round of voting, we have moved on to the quarterfinals in our #SunDevilMoments series, as we look to crown the best moment from the 2015-2016 ASU athletic season. Here is our Elite Eight.
#SunDevilMoments Quarterfinals - Seed No. 1: Kalen Ballage's Moonwalk vs. Seed No. 9: Lloyd Carrington's Pick-six
The Sun Devils stepped into Rose Bowl Stadium with little to make many question how the result of their contest against the No. 7 UCLA Bruins would turn out.
ASU was coming off the heels of a 42-14 blowout loss to USC. It finished the September portion of the campaign 2-2, and was looking to begin October on the right foot--and, somehow, it did.
Thanks to a complete performance, the Sun Devils were in the driver's seat with just under a minute left to go, lined up on the Bruins' 23-yard line.
ASU faced third-and-six, but already up by eight points and within field-goal range, the Sun Devils decided to run the ball to eat more clock.
Mike Bercovici handed it to tailback Kalen Ballage on a zone read, freezing edge defender Deon Hollins in the process. Ballage slammed into a cluster of blockers and defenders around the 20-yard line, before surging ahead to the first-down marker.
Game over, time to head back to Tempe and cele- ... Is he still going?
Now turned with his back facing the end zone, with the help of right tackle Billy McGehee and tight end Kody Kohl, Ballage was carrying a pair of UCLA defenders, still heading towards the goal line.
As more Bruins attempted to join in the scrum, offensive linemen Vi Teofilo and Nick Kelly, and Bercovici joined in the effort, moving the pile on, and before they knew it... paydirt.
It was only Ballage's second game of the season after missing the first three with mononucleosis. He finished the contest with 11 carries for 59 yards, including the game-cinching touchdown.
The play may not have been on par with the Jael Mary, but Ballage's "Moonwalk" score was the perfect end cap to a deserved 38-23 win for ASU against a very good opponent in UCLA.
It felt as thought all of the disappointment surrounding the Sun Devils football team didn't exist for that one day.
On November 21, 2015, ASU reclaimed the Territorial Cup from its arch rival Arizona, but not without a frantic finish. After maintaining a comfortable lead throughout the contest, the Wildcats had drawn within two possessions with three minutes left, but were reeling following a pick-six from Kareem Orr to put the Sun Devils ahead 45-30 on the previous drive.
Momentum on ASU's side, it felt as though any sort of points it could manufacture would ice the contest. That's when senior cornerback Lloyd Carrington left his mark on his final duel against the team from down south.
With 2:40 left, Arizona faced fourth-and-14 on its own 24-yard line. Wildcats freshman quarterback Brandon Hawkins—who had earlier entered in relief of interim starter Jerrard Randall—was dealt a six-man rush, with a safety blitz off the left side.
Under direct siege off his right, Hawkins flung a pass intended for Trey Griffey at the first-down marker, but Griffey hadn't turned around yet. Meanwhile, Carrington was able to soar into the air, secure the ball, then took off towards the end zone.
At around the 16-yard line, a Wildcat offensive lineman reached out his hand, contacting Carrington as he raced down the sideline. The corner began to acrobatically maneuver his way off-balance, teetering over the boundary the rest of the way, before high-stepping into the end zone for the game-cinching score.
Carrington's pick-six closed the game out for ASU, and provided Sun Devil football fans with a moment of joy and elation in the midst of what was a relatively underwhelming year.
Here are highlights from the 2015 Territorial Cup, Carrington's play begins at the 1:44 mark.