Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 11/20/11
TEMPE Bryson Beirne sat on the bench and reflected. Jourdan Grandon celebrated. Gino Crump lived a dream. Three relatively unknowns with different stories took control in the final minutes of Arizona's 31-27 win over rival Arizona State in Sun Devil Stadium. On a day when upsets were the norm in college football, Arizona pulled off its own. "I just treated it as another game," said Beirne, who threw the game-winning touchdown with 5:18 left. "Nothing else to it. Just another game, right?" Well, not exactly. For Arizona, it meant gaining some semblance in what has been a torturous season in seeing its head coach dismissed at midseason and seeing the team sputter throughout the year. There's a reason why Arizona was just 2-8 going into Saturday night's rivalry game with ASU. But now, make it 3-8 after yet another fight-to-the-finish game. "What I've said is that we're running a marathon here," said UA interim coach Tim Kish inferring it's about the total season and not individual games. "And these guys responded. What we didn't want was a bunch of imposters out there. They took it to heart and I was proud of how they prepared this week." In the end of Saturday's game it was Beirne, who filled in for an injured Nick Foles to lead Arizona to a much-needed and perhaps season-cleansing victory. Beating a rival always helps erase plenty. "This is bragging rights for the whole next year," said Grandon, a freshman defensive back. "No matter what. We beat (them) so how sorry could we really be?" With a little over six minutes left, Foles went down with an injury. And Breison, who had thrown just thrown 11 passes in four games all season, went in. He went in without the luxury of a warmup. "I just grabbed my helmet and went in," said Beirne. "It was just like playing (simple) football again. I just wanted to go in and do my job." He did and more, after getting advice from Foles. "He just said to go in and play football," Beirne said. "He said, this was your destiny."'. Indeed. Beirne has now become an asterisk in what has become a rivalry game full of keynote moments. Soon after the advice, he threw a pass to senior Juron Criner, who reached the end zone after 23 yards and a few missed tackles. "Phenomenal," said UA interim coach Tim Kish, speaking of Beirne's play. "He has that composure all the time." Said Gino Crump: It was amazing." Amazing, but not surprising. Beirne has been described as poised and confident. "I have faith in my guys," said Foles, who suffered a side and lower back injury after getting hit two plays before coming out. "I wanted to be out there but Bryson did an amazing job. He's always been there for me and when he went in there for me, I knew we'd be fine." Beirne felt the same way. He's always felt that way, he said. He has just been waiting for his moment. "Nobody thinks this is going to happen to them ever," said Beirne. "But it happened. You take what it is. I'm grateful for the opportunity and I'm glad we succeeded as a team." And seemingly everyone played a part. Freshman Ka'Deem Carey had 92 rushing yards and 47 receiving yards. Criner had 134 yards and the touchdown. Crump had six catches and the zigzagging touchdown to make it 27-24, giving Arizona a chance with 10:25 left. And then there was Grandon, who picked off ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler with just more than two minutes left. "I saw him thrown it and then I saw that it was tipped and then the next thing I knew it fell into my hands and I was like, "run, Jourdan run," Grandon said. "This is my biggest play of my career." Same could be said for Crump's 33-yard touchdown with 10:25 left. Crump made four ASU players miss. "It's all a blur right now," Crump said. "I caught the ball and I just made the moves. They just happened. It's a surreal moment for me. I'm just glad I could make that play for my teammates." But the best feeling came when, after running around with the UA flag in a postgame celebration, he took the flag and planted it at the 50-yard line. Most of his teammates were already in the locker room. "That felt great," Crump said. "You dream about that as a kid. You grow up watching these types of games on television and to have that opportunity to spike our flag in the enemy's field, I dream about that." Maybe there will be another dream left. It's not clear if Foles will be available next week in Arizona's final game against Louisiana-Lafayette. It'll be Crump's final game. And, perhaps maybe, Arizona will have named a new coach by then? On Saturday night, Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne said "it's going to be sometime" as to when he will announce his choice to eventually be the guy to replace Stoops. Rumors and reports have former Oregon coach Mike Ballotter as the leading candidate. Ballotter has known Byrne for two decades, as both have ties to Oregon. Byrne was an Oregon administrator in the mid-1990s. Ballotter was the head coach there for 14 years before becoming the school's athletic director in 2008. He has been a television analyst for college football this past season. "I know whoever the new coach is, he watched a lot of kids with heart," said Grandon. "(He saw) a lot of underclassmen that are willing to play hard for him."
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