When redshirt junior running back Deantre Lewis scored ASU football’s eighth touchdown of the game in the Sun Devils’ 62-41 victory over USC last Saturday night, the celebration was routine.
Lewis was congratulated by his teammates, fireworks shot in the sky and Sparky was gearing up for another set of pushups.
For Lewis, though, the fourth-quarter touchdown was anything but routine.
It was his first score since October of 2010.
“I was pretty emotional after,” Lewis said. “I got a little teary-eyed during the game. I was just so happy, because I came a long way to get to that point. It was a very emotional moment.”
Lewis was shot near his hometown of Norco, Calif. after his successful freshman season in 2010, which included six total touchdowns and over 900 yards of total offense.
The incident was random, but it took a toll on Lewis emotionally and physically.
Lewis redshirted in 2011 and rushed for only 39 yards in 2012 while splitting time as a running back and defensive back.
2013 has proved to be a lot more like 2010, though, and the touchdown against the Trojans has cemented that feeling, especially for Lewis’s running backs coach Bo Graham.
“I know it meant a lot to him,” Graham said. “He’s been through a lot since the last time he was in there so it signifies his past and the adversity he’s overcome.”
The touchdown run wasn’t even Lewis’ most impressive play on the night, either.
The play before, Lewis took a fly sweep 45 yards to the Trojans 1-yard line and showed the explosiveness Sun Devil fans saw in 2010.
Lewis admits he was gassed after the play, but Graham made sure he got his touchdown.
“It’s funny because after that big run, he was pretty gassed,” Graham said. “He went over to the side and we called a timeout so we could get him back in there to seal the deal. I wanted him to get in that end zone and get that feeling, so it was good.”
The touchdown run was important on the emotional level, but the long run provided something different for Lewis.
“It brought back memories,” Lewis said. “Just being in the open field, doing what I do.”
Lewis has been “pretty dang good, ”Graham said, and even received first team reps during Tuesday’s practice.
Graham admitted Lewis is a starter in his mind and that his reps are only going to continue to increase as the season progresses.
That’s a big deal for Lewis, who said he really feels like Graham, his teammates and the entire coaching staff care about his success.
They are starting to gain more trust in me,” Lewis said. “I just feel like the more the season goes on, the more they are going to trust me and open things up.”
Hopefully for Lewis, there will be many more fireworks and Sparky pushups on his behalf in 2013 and he said he believes he can do even better than he did in 2010.
“I feel like I’m finally back,” he said. “I feel like my body’s there and allowing me to do stuff I couldn’t do in 2010.”
-The Sun Devils wore their newly unveiled helmets to Tuesday’s practice.
-Sophomore defensive lineman Jaxon Hood (leg) remained in the green no-contact jersey and didn’t participate with the team. His availability for Saturday’s game is still unknown.
-Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Mo Latu was not at practice Tuesday. Coach Todd Graham said he has been dealing with a knee issue.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or on Twitter @DsShapi