I still don’t understand the ending of tonights Arizona State Wisconsin Badgers game. And I’m sure I’m not alone. When all the dust had settled, the Sun Devils had emerged victorious against the #20 ranked Wisconsin Badgers 32-30. In perhaps one of the most bizarre endings to a college football game, sent over 66,000 fans home shaking their heads. With :18 seconds left in the game and setting up for a game ending field goal, Wisconsin QB Joel Stave though he downed the ball and was ready to cholk the ball. A confused referee group and an anxious Sun Devil Defense combined to watch the clock continue to run out for the Sun Devil victory.
This was one of those games that should have never come down to the final seconds. Hindsight would reveal a game that the Sun Devils were trying to lose. Between a muffed punt that was recovered for a Badger score, an 80 yard run to start the second half for Wisconsin, too many dropped passes by ASU and questionable play calling by the Devils, it was shocking they pulled out the victory. The Badgers (2-1) ran, ran and ran the ball as expected for a total of 247 yards with Melvin Gordon leading the way with 196. ASU’s Marion Grice put up his own flashy numbers with 88 yards and four touchdowns.
The game started with a 13 play 72 yard drive Sun Devil that stalled on the Badger three yard line. Going for it on fourth down was not a bad call, but the drop by wide out Kevin Ozier in the endzone did hurt. The quarter ended ASU 3 Wisconsin 0. Early in the second quarter was disastrous for the Devils as they allowed the Badgers to go up 7-3 on a two yard pass to Jacob Pedersen. ASU’s next drive resulted in a muffed punt and instead of knocking the ball out or falling on it in the endzone, punter Dom Vizzare just kind of rumbled and stumbled around allowing Wisconsin to fall on it for a score to go up 14-3. ASU didn’t give in as they marched downfield 75 yards on the ensuing drive for the first of four touchdowns by Grice. ASU missed another touchdown opportunity at the end of the half, but this time they put up a three spot to head into the half down 14-13.
Between the 80 yard Gordon run to start the half and ASU going for a two point conversion in the 3rd quarter, ASU should have felt lucky to only be down 21-19 going into the 4th quarter. The fourth quarter featured two schools that slugged it out in the heat . Both teams pounded the ball up until the fateful last seconds moments. Whether or not Wisconsin got the raw end of the deal, it made for some interesting football.
Post game featured several players as well as Coach Graham talking about the bizarre ending. Coach took ownership on a lot of the questionable calls, but he still defended his decisions. Penalties and turnovers were both sticking points for Coach as he fully admitted they got lucky with this victory. While the ending was the main topic, everyone was directing their attention the the next game at Stanford.