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Football finally vanquishes USC

BLUE SHOWER: ASU junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict (left) and redshirt senior cornerback Omar Bolden dump the ceremonial Powerade on coach Dennis Erickson in the 4th quarter of the Sun Devils’ 43-22 upset over USC. (Photo by Beth Easterbrook)
BLUE SHOWER: ASU junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict (left) and redshirt senior cornerback Omar Bolden dump the ceremonial Powerade on coach Dennis Erickson in the 4th quarter of the Sun Devils’ 43-22 upset over USC. (Photo by Beth Easterbrook)

Check out more action photos from Saturday's game in this slideshow.


See if State Press caught you cheering on the Devils in this fan slideshow.

In the first quarter Saturday, a dust storm unexpectedly blew into Sun Devil Stadium, sending debris flying in the air and successfully foreshadowing the night’s chaotic events.

In a remarkably back and forth game, the ASU football team ran away from Southern California and into the open arms of a 43-22 victory.

The win snapped an 11 game losing streak to the No. 23 Trojans (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12).

“We just were not going to lose,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. “Our guys showed a lot of resilience and made plays when we had to. I can’t say enough.”

The Sun Devils (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) jumped out to a 21-9 halftime lead, but two quick USC touchdown drives to start the third quarter had the Trojans ahead for the first time Saturday.

After blowing its cushion, ASU could’ve folded.

In past years, that’s what the school did when faced with overwhelming adversity.

But not Saturday. Not these Sun Devils.

ASU took the ensuing kickoff, drove 76 yards for a touchdown and never looked back.

“We’ve been down in several games the past few years so we knew that feeling of losing close ones,” ASU junior running back Cameron Marshall said. “Everybody had that same thought in their head of ‘not this time.’”

The next three USC possessions all ended in the Sun Devil defense forcing a turnover.

The first two were fumbles and the last was a USC junior quarterback Matt Barkley interception returned for a touchdown by ASU senior linebacker Shelly Lyons to seal the game.

“Barkley got flushed out the pocket and his running back was wide open so I just broke early,” Lyons said. “I was actually going to tackle the running back but the ball floated out of his hands, so it was Merry Christmas to me.”

The Sun Devils ran out the rest of the clock uneventfully and drenched Erickson with a Gatorade bath to celebrate the win.

“I'm a little sticky right now but it felt pretty good,” he said. “This is a team game and we finally put it together.”

Marshall, who missed two practices leading up to the game with a nagging injury, scored three times and had 141 yards on the ground.

ASU junior quarterback Brock Osweiler finished Saturday 25-for-32 for 223 yards and two touchdowns.

USC sacked Osweiler just once, as opposed to last week when Illinois got to the Sun Devil quarterback six times.

“The offensive line was a big reason why we won this game,” Osweiler said. “We don’t really have a panic button at any time. No matter what happens, we can come back and score.”

Junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict had five tackles and an interception while senior linebacker Colin Parker and junior defensive end Greg Smith both forced fumbles.

“We’ve had countless games where we’ve been up and let it slip away,” Parker said. “I really feel like this year is different. It’s a mindset more than anything.”

ASU got the scoring started on the fourth play of the first quarter with a 70-yard touchdown run from Marshall.

The Trojans took their next possession and drove it into Sun Devil territory, but stalled soon thereafter.

USC freshman kicker Andre Heidari missed the ensuing attempt from 46 yards out, but Burfict was offsides and the Trojans got another shot.

Heidari took advantage of the Sun Devil mistake and put USC on the board with a 41-yard field goal.

Sandwiched between another Heidari field goal were two touchdown passes from ASU junior quarterback Brock Osweiler.

One went to senior wide receiver Gerell Robinson for two yards with the other going to junior receiver Jamal Miles for three yards.

A third Heidari kick for USC ended the first half scoring with the Sun Devils leading 21-9.

The Trojans came of the locker room firing and scored two touchdowns within six minutes to take the lead.

Barkley hit freshman wide receiver Marqise Lee for a 24 yard score followed by a senior running back Marc Tyler 10 yard run to the endzone.

After USC failed to convert on its two-point attempt, the Sun Devils trailed by one point.

Marshall put ASU back on top with a three yard score, and then extended his team’s lead with a four yard score in the fourth quarter.

The Trojans tried to make another comeback but Lyons’ pick-six essentially ended the game with a little more than six minutes remaining and ASU up by 21.

“For us not to beat someone in 11 years is a long time,” Robinson said. “To be a senior and to be on the team to break the streak feels special. I can’t explain how it feels except that it’s good.”


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