Under Further Review: ASU football still recovering from heartbreaking call

The team wants to move on and put all their focus on No. 10 Washington on Saturday

In an alternate sports universe the Sun Devils (2-1) are an undefeated team and likely ranked in the top 20 – but this is reality. ASU football fell to the San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday in dramatic fashion due to a controversial non-catch by redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frank Darby.

“When I went up, I caught the ball, and as I'm coming down I see the helmet (of Aztec redshirt sophomore safety Trenton Thompson), and it just went ‘boom, lights out,'" Darby said. “He probably knocked me out a little bit, but as soon as I hit the floor, I woke up, and I noticed I had the ball.”

Darby’s catch was under review due to the targeting penalty on the play. Offensive coordinator Rob Likens said he had no idea the referee was looking at the catch as well. 

“I had no idea because up in the booth, the screen is actually behind me, so I didn’t know that was even in question,” Likens said in a Tuesday press conference. “We were back and forth talking about ‘OK we got one timeout left – there are six seconds. Can we run a play and still have time?”

The ruling on the field was overturned, and Darby was brought to tears after hearing the call from the referee.

“I think they should have given that to me, the way he hit me,” Darby said. “It should have never happened.”

Junior wide receiver N'Keal Harry said that it takes a special player to make that catch, but what happened on Saturday is no longer relevant.

“Its behind us, nothing we can do about it,” Harry said. “All we can do is go to practice working hard and just focus on Washington.”

The players have started to find their own identity as they continue working on specific strengths and weaknesses in order to put themselves in a position to win football games. 

“We got outplayed by San Diego State, and we kind of played ourselves in a way,” junior wide receiver Kyle Williams said. “We play ourselves every week – we defeated ourselves. It's on us – we gotta come back and delete that and just get ready for Washington. If we can get this win on the road, that's a great start to Pac-12 play, and that will give us great momentum.”

This week, the focus is solely on No. 10 Washington (2-1, 1-0), even though the team remembers last year's upset over the Huskies. 

“We have a lot of confidence going into every game ...” Darby said. “It's going to be an angry game, but we are just going to have to go to war. We beat them last year, so we know they are mad, and they are ready to try and take that W back.”

Reach the reporter at sbemanue@asu.edu or follow @SebastianEman5 on Twitter. 

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