Arizona State Football: 5 Best Moments of 2013

Robby Baker@@Robby__BakerContributor IIIDecember 28, 2013

Arizona State Football: 5 Best Moments of 2013

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    2013 was very good to the Sun Devils.
    2013 was very good to the Sun Devils.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Arizona State Sun Devils finished 2013 with a 10-3 record and were one win shy of playing in the Rose Bowl.

    It was a very successful campaign by all accounts.

    The season was filled with many memorable moments such as scoring 62 points against USC, the crazy Wisconsin ending and winning the Pac-12 South title.

    The greatest moment of all, though, has to be the Sun Devils' huge 58-21 win over Arizona to keep the Territorial Cup in Tempe. It's always great to beat your rival, but beating the Wildcats by 37 made every ASU fan smile.

    It's remarkable what head coach Todd Graham has done with the Sun Devil program, taking them from mediocrity to the Pac-12 title game in just two years.

    The Sun Devils are now set up to be a power in the Pac-12 for many years to come.

    The 2013 season isn't quite over for ASU though, as the Sun Devils still have a Holiday Bowl meeting with Texas Tech on Dec. 30. Who knows, there still may be a few memorable moments to come. 

    With that said, here is a list of the best moments of Arizona State's 2013 season.

    Stats and information from unless otherwise indicated.

Honorable Mentions

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    ASU's new flame helmet was introduced this year.
    ASU's new flame helmet was introduced this year.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Flame Helmets

    Arizona State introduced a new helmet this year, as the picture above shows.

    These new helmets had a flame pattern and were debuted for the Sun Devils' Shamrock Series game against Notre Dame.

    ASU only wore them once this year but they did make an impact, as Arizona State made a splash in the uniform craze.

    A fun fact about the helmets: No two have the same pattern.

    Holding Bishop Sankey to 22 Yards

    Bishop Sankey came into Tempe as one of the nation's leading rushers, but the Sun Devils didn't care.

    ASU's suspect defense showed up for this game and held Sankey to only 22 yards. The Huskies as a team ran for minus-5 yards.

    It was one of the best defensive performances in recent Sun Devil history.

    From this game on, ASU's defense would improve and became one of the best in the Pac-12.

    Rick Smith's Circus Touchdown Catch

    You have to see this catch to believe it.

    Rick Smith tipped the ball to himself, over a Washington State defender, and waltzed into the end zone.

    Smith struggled during the early part of ASU's season and wasn't seeing much playing time. Against Washington State he had three catches for 79 yards and this touchdown.

    It was his statement game and helped him work his way back into the lineup. It paid dividends for ASU as the next week Smith caught the game-winning touchdown to beat Utah.

5. Beating USC 62-41

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    Arizona State's big win over USC cost Lane Kiffin his job.
    Arizona State's big win over USC cost Lane Kiffin his job.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Lane Kiffin made that face a lot that fateful night in Tempe.

    Arizona State had 612 yards of offense, forced four turnovers and put up 62 points on the Trojans and showed the country that it has a prolific offense.

    This game earns a spot on this list because it was ASU's first conference win this year and it cost Kiffin his job.

    Many ASU fans didn't know what to expect from ASU heading into this game, but all doubters were silenced for the time being.

    The defense was suspect at best, but what the offense did really turned heads.

    The Sun Devils showed their fans they were going to be a fun team to watch with playmakers at nearly every position capable of turning momentum on any given play.

    This win was also historic as Doug Haller of wrote:

    ASU’s 62 points matched the second-most points scored in a Pac-10/12 game in school history. The Sun Devils amassed 612 yards – most in nearly 13 years -- against a team that had not given up 300 in a game all season.

    Beating USC helped set the tone for Arizona State's season.

4. Will Sutton's Interception Againt Utah

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    Will Sutton's interception sealed ASU's comeback victory.
    Will Sutton's interception sealed ASU's comeback victory.Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

    It looked like Arizona State's dream season was going to be derailed by the Utes.

    The Sun Devils were down in the fourth quarter, and it seemed like their dreams of a Pac-12 South title were again going to be crushed.

    Then, a pair of touchdowns put ASU up one.

    Utah still had time to drive and win the game though, and all of Sun Devil nation was on the edge of their seats.

    Will Sutton, however, quickly ended those comeback dreams.

    He put his hands up into the Utah sky and came down with an interception that sealed ASU's remarkable, comeback win.

    The amazing thing is the big defensive tackle told Jeff Metcalfe of he didn't even know he caught the ball:

    I didn’t even know I caught it. They probably would have had a first down on that play, but because of that we won the game. I just looked and the ball was in my hands. I was like, 'Shoot, all right, we won.'

    This play defined ASU's season: The team was resilient and never gave up.

3. Crazy Ending of the Wisconsin Game

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    It's hard to say if anyone actually knows what happened in the above play.

    The only thing that is certain is that the Sun Devils won the game; however, if they should have is a totally different question.

    ASU dominated the Badgers but couldn't seal the deal.

    Wisconsin took over with less than two minutes left in the game and drove right down the field and got into field-goal range. It seemed like ASU's season was going to get off to a rocky start.

    Then, with 18 seconds left in the game, everything came unraveled for Wisconsin.

    Joel Stave appeared to take a knee, or did he? The referees never set the ball and somehow, someway ASU escaped with a victory.

    This win helped the Sun Devils get a huge confidence boost and made them believe they could beat anyone on any day.

    It was also huge for the fanbase, as Sun Devil fans found out they could believe in this year's team.

2. Winning the Pac-12 South

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    Winning the school's first Pac-12 South title was a major milestone for Arizona State.
    Winning the school's first Pac-12 South title was a major milestone for Arizona State.Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

    ASU traveled to Pasadena to take on UCLA with the Pac-12 South title on the line on Nov. 23. If the Sun Devils won, they would be Pac-12 South champions; if they lost, UCLA would be one win away from their third-straight title. 

    These were the games ASU had lost in recent years, big road games.

    2013 was different though.

    The Sun Devils beat the Bruins 38-33 to win the Pac-12 South title for the first time in school history that night in California.

    This moment is second on this list because it sent ASU to the Pac-12 Championship game and was the first big road win for the Sun Devils in recent memory.

    It was ASU's moment to show it was ready for prime time.

1. Beating Arizona 58-21

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    ASU's blowout win over U of A was the icing on the cake of a great season.
    ASU's blowout win over U of A was the icing on the cake of a great season.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Beating Arizona and claiming the Territorial Cup would rank near the top of any season's list, but the way the Sun Devils beat the Wildcats this year earns the top spot on this list.

    Arizona State ran over Arizona and earned the right to host the Pac-12 Championship game following its 58-21 win.

    The only time the Wildcats were in the game was during the opening kickoff; after that the Sun Devils were in control.

    It was a statement by Arizona State that it was the best team in the state and one of the best teams in the conference.

    It was the perfect cap to the Sun Devils' regular season and set them up for a run at the Roses.

    Robby Baker is a B/R Featured Columnist. You can find his B/R archive here and follow him on Twitter @Robby__Baker.