Turnovers and special teams will likely decide some important games for ASU in 2013, as they do for most BCS programs. Good or bad, a single play can not only decide a close game, but it can impact an entire season.
For ASU Football, special teams has been an Achilles heal the last several years. But as witnessed last year, special teams became an advantage for Todd Graham’s Sun Devils.
Case in point: One of ASU’s greatest special teams play in 2012 changed the momentum and outcome of a game as well as the season. With 5:45 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Territorial Cup in Tucson, Sun Devils #19 Kevin Ayers blocked Kyle Dugandzic’s punt on Arizona’s own 14 yard line. Four seconds later, senior RB Cameron Marshall charged into the end zone putting the Sun Devils up by 7 points. It was a back-breaking play that sucked the life out of Arizona Stadium. Five minutes later, ASU emerged victorious.
With the win, Coach Graham earned his first Territorial Cup, leaving his counterpart in Tuscon winless in the epic rivalry.
ASU had secured a 5-4 PAC-12 finish while the Wildcats finished 4-5. As a result Arizona’s bowl prospects were limited. The Wildcats ended up at the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15. In comparison, Arizona State headed to the more prestigious Kraft FIGHT HUNGER Bowl on Dec.29, providing them an extra two weeks of practices and conditioning. In the end, both programs finished their year with 8 wins and 5 losses with ASU sitting atop Arizona.
Thank you again, Kevin Ayers.
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