We have made it to the month of November. Conference races are in full bloom and every game means that much more. The Colorado Buffaloes paid a visit to Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday night to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils. There was Pac-12 South Division ramifications on the line with both these teams.
Colorado was 2-4 in the Pac-12, while the Sun Devils were 3-2 in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Sun Devils needed a win and some confidence after getting manhandled by USC last week at Sun Devil Stadium. The Devils were beaten up in every sense of the word.
Meanwhile the Buffaloes were coming off a 44-28 win over California. The Buffs had some confidence and momentum. Could they sustain it in Tempe?
Both teams haven’t really made anybody a believer in either squad with their up and down play. It was a matter of which team would show up and show out on Saturday night.
Colorado drew first blood on a 34 yard field goal by James Stefanou. Momentum Buffaloes.
The Sun Devils didn’t mount any sort of attack during that first quarter. Manny Wilkins could not get any rhythm going with his offense. A few boo birds made their appearance when Arizona State struggled to get anything done offensively.
Colorado went back to work in the second quarter. Phillip Lindsay scored on a six yard run and Colorado took some control of this game at 10-0.
Thoughts started creeping in my mind if this was going to be a replay of last week’s game with USC for the Sun Devils. The play of the Sun Devils was not inspiring anybody.
Just when those thoughts were entering my head, the Sun Devils grab some momentum from Colorado.
Arizona State gets into the end zone with a 20 yard pass to N’Keal Harry from Manny Wilkins. That made the score 10-7 in favor of Colorado.
Colorado then answers with an eight play, 51 yard drive that resulted in Phillip Lindsay getting the score for the second time in the first half. The Buffs took back control of the game and made it a 17-7 lead.
The sun had gone down, so Pac-12 After Dark certainly could rear it’s crazy head.
With a seven seconds left in the first half the Sun Devils get down the field and in the end zone with a 25 yard pass from Manny Wilkins to Kyle Williams and now it was 17-14.
Were the Devils finished for the first half?
The Sun Devils successfully get the on-side kick and had a chance to tie it at halftime. Unfortunately, the 55 yard attempt by the Sun Devils was no good and the score was 17-14 going into halftime.
Who made the second half adjustments?
This was anybody’s ballgame. Nobody had turned the ball over yet and it was looking like any mistake would likely cost the teams the game.
Colorado gets on the board first in the second half with a 53 yard kick by James Stefanou. It made the score 20-14.
Arizona State needed some kind of spark.
Arizona State answers with a field goal of their own to make the game a 20-17 lead for the Buffaloes.
It felt like the Sun Devils were down by a couple of scores and not a field goal. The crowd wasn’t into it and the team wasn’t doing much to convince people that a win was imminent.
However, Colorado was making plays.
Steven Montez threw a beautiful 54 yard deep ball to Shay Fields and the Buffs had a little more breathing room at 27-17 heading to the fourth quarter.
What did I say earlier about the whole Pac-12 After Dark thing?
The Sun Devils put a field goal on the board, block a punt, get good field position, and take advantage of that field position to score a game tying touchdown by Demario Richard.
Suddenly it’s 27-27. Game on with 8:38 left in the game.
With the help of a 60 yard pass, Colorado gets down the field quick and get another field goal to make the score 30-27.
Would we see a response from the Sun Devils?
Yes, we would.
The last five minutes of the game was owned by the Sun Devils. The Sun Devils found that much needed spark in their offense.
Arizona State put 14 points on the board in that time span. It shocked the fans a bit, but it really shocked the Colorado Buffaloes.
Eno Benjamin ran it in from 19 yards out and the Sun Devils finally had their first lead of the game at 34-30.
The Buffaloes could not answer the call, and the Devils were looking to put the finishing touches on a wild come from behind win. Manny Wilkins iced the game at the end with a one yard touchdown and the celebration was on at Sun Devil Stadium.
Arizona State walked away with a 41-30 victory and have won three of their last four games. The Devils finish the season with two of their last three games on the road.
Next week, the Sun Devils travel to UCLA to take on the Bruins, without Josh Rosen. The following week they travel up to Corvallis to take on the last place Beavers. Then the big rivalry game with Arizona comes at home. All three of those games are extremely winnable.
The Sun Devils have to be ready to play and have to take the game to their opponent and not let their opponents dictate it to them. We shall see what happens the next few weeks, but for right now, the Sun Devils should feel good about their team and their chances.