Heartbreak in Madison

Football is a game of inches and the Sun Devils experienced that time tested pigskin adage in the cruelest of ways on Saturday afternoon, falling 20-19 to Wisconsin. ASU's placekicker Thomas Weber missed an extra point, following a Cameron Marshall 2-yard score, with 4:09 left which would have tied the game. Yet, there were other many miscues beforehand that sealed this game's fate.

- Thomas Weber missed a field 25-yard field goal on Arizona State's first drive, but luckily at the time for the visitors, Wisconsin committed the same error to begin the game.

- Early in the second quarter wide receiver George Bell dropped one pass by Steven Threet in the end zone and on the ensuing play was barely out of bounds after catching the ball forcing the maroon and gold to kick a field goal at the end of an 82-yard drive.

- This aforementioned drive could have actually culminated with a long punt return for a touchdown by Jamal Miles; however a block in the back penalty by Brandon Smith was just one more exasperating event.

- Wide receiver/running back Kyle Middlebrooks was tackled on the one-yard line following his 95-yard kick return which was the last play of the half preventing ASU from going to the locker room with mountains of momentum on its side.

- Midway through the third quarter ASU was pinned down on its own 2-yard line, when running back Denatre Lewis not only got his team way out of the shadow of their own goalpost but came close to scoring a 98-yard touchdown with a burst up the middle. Alas, the true freshman tripped on the field, and his 32-yard run was all for not as the Sun Devils weren't able to sustain that drive and forced to punt.

- On Wisconsin's last drive of the game, James Brooks committed a personal foul which gave Wisconsin a 1st down and helped the Badgers gain valuable real estate en route to killing the game clock and any chances ASU had at victory.

After Phillip Welch converted on a 49-yard field goal to give the hosts their first lead of the game, Welch's kickoff was returned by ASU cornerback Omar Bolden 97 yards for a score. Weber's 25-yard field goal gave ASU a 10-3 lead, but tight end Lance Kendricks, who was a thorn in ASU's side all afternoon, scored on a 14-yard touchdown catch which along with another Welch field goal gave the Badgers a 13-10 halftime lead.

Wisconsin star running back John Clay was quiet in the first half, but his 19-yard scoring run in the third quarter was ultimately all he and his squad needed to squeak out a precious victory, as the Badgers were shut out in the fourth quarter.

ASU quarterback Steven Threet was 21 of 33 for 211 yards, with no scores or interceptions. Lewis paced his team with 122 yards on nine carries, while Kerry Taylor led the Sun Devil wide receivers with six catches and 71 yards.

The Sun Devils had 380 yards of offense, but surrendered 440 yards in that category. Badger signal caller Scott Tolzein was 19 of 25 for 246 yards and a touchdown. Clay collected 123 yards on 22 carries and a score. Kendricks had seven receptions for 131 yards and a score. ASU committed eight penalties for 61 yards, and the questionable officiating also came into play when a blatant pass interference call committed on Sun Devil wide receiver T.J. Simpson wasn't called. Nonetheless, the Sun Devils know deep down in their hearts that there is no one but themselves to blame for this loss.

It may be easier said than done for ASU to dust itself after such a disappointing defeat, yet they will have to do exactly that with undefeated and 5th ranked (at the time of the article) Oregon visiting Sun Devil stadium on Saturday.

The maroon and gold missed a golden opportunity today to get over the hump and prove they can beat a ranked team, let alone on the road. They will certainly get another chance in their upcoming contest which will hopefully have a different ending.


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