Osweiler nearly engineers a USC upset

With 55,282 in attendance to see the Sun Devils take on the Trojans of USC, the Sun Devils came up just short as USC edged out a 14-9 victory over ASU. It was another heartbreaking loss for the maroon and gold, but this time there was a different quarterback trying to lead ASU to a win.

Unlike most games for the Sun Devils this year, the team came out fired up on both sides of the ball, and although they didn't score in the first quarter, the 0-0 tie strongly favored the confidence of the Devils.

Unfortunately for Sun Devil fans though, Danny Sullivan continued to play like he has all year, often times overthrowing his receivers, and turning the ball over as he has of late.

Early in the second quarter Sullivan forced a throw that Chris Galippo picked off and returned to the ASU 31, but just when the momentum began swinging in USC's direction, the ASU defense came up with a big stop, getting the ball back.

The team began to drive, but again the drive stalled in the red zone. For one play Sullivan was knocked out, true freshman signal caller Brock Osweiler game in the game and was greeted by several cheers from the Sun Devil crowd, only to leave to game on the following play.

"Basically, I wasn't really notified to warm up or anything because I was going in," Osweiler noted. "It was more or less the ref ruled that Danny was down too long and he had to go out for one play. I just put my helmet on, went in there, and just tried making a play. At that point in the game we really needed a touchdown and J-Vo made a great play and almost got the ball in the end zone."

The team wouldn't be so lucky to escape Sullivan's second mistake though, as Sullivan was picked off by Will Harris who easily strode into the end zone putting USC up 7-3. A score that would remain through halftime.

After the half, Sun Devil fans got what they all were wishing for, after watching a 75-yard USC touchdown, as Brock Osweiler re-entered the game, but this time for good.

"My role as a backup quarterback on this team is to go in when I'm told to, be ready to play at all times, and to do what this team needs," Osweiler stated. "So that's all I tried to do tonight. I was told at halftime that I was going to start the second half, and I just tried to tell the offensive guys to be ready. We have to go out there and score points. Unfortunately we didn't do that in the second half, but at the same time I think a lot of things happened tonight that we can build upon and I think this team is going to be ok in the future."

"Danny and myself are great friends," Osweiler pointed out. "We're roommates on the road and in the hotel the night before games, so he just came up to me and told me ‘It's just like practice, it's just like any other game,' and be calm, and he wished me the best. There was a couple times where he helped me out with coverages and stuff like that, so Danny was a great leader tonight and really helped me out."

Osweiler gave Sun Devil fans some hope late in the third quarter as a looked off a safety and lofted a perfect pass to Chris McGaha in the end zone.

"That's a play that we don't call very often," Osweiler admitted. "We try to set teams up and use it to our advantage and call it maybe once or twice during a game. Chris ran a great route, he set up his defender perfectly and the line gave me time to make that throw. In all reality my job was really easy on that play and Chris and the offensive line mad a heck of an effort to get us in the end zone.

"I was just trying to move the safety. They were in a single safety set and I was just trying to move him over to the left side of the field a little bit to give Chris more room to work and try to make the play a little bit easier on us."

Regardless of the touchdown pass, Osweiler had the support of the Sun Devil crowd as he received cheers and chants of his name whenever he stepped onto the field.

"To know that many people support you and are behind you and want you to succeed, it gives you a huge boost of confidence," Osweiler said, "but at the same time, we've got a lot of work to do, but we're real close to exploding as an offense. I feel like these next three games will be pretty exciting."

USC's defense poses a tough test for any quarterback, especially a true freshman, but Osweiler handled the situation well and better than most.

"They're a very athletic defense," Osweiler declared. "You have to give them all the credit in the world. They have great football players, and their coaches put them in a great position to succeed, but once again I felt like my teammates gave me the opportunity to make plays, and I just didn't make those plays tonight.

I think a lot of this comes down to me, our defense could not have played any better to give me numerous opportunities to go down there and get that ball in the end zone so we could win the game. Once again it's a learning experience and I learned a lot tonight."

With time dwindling and no timeouts left, Osweiler was given the task of moving the team down the field for the game winning touchdown, most of which through no-huddle, something he hasn't done since high school.

"That was the first time I've done that since I've been to ASU," Osweiler commented. "I feel like I called some good plays, but at the same time when I got into the locker room after the game, looking back on it, I feel like I could've called some different ones. That's one of those situations where all I can do is learn from it, watch the film tomorrow and just improve on that area of my game.

"I've got to give credit to their four down linemen. They did a heck of a job tonight to get pressure on Danny and myself. At the same time, at the end of the game, especially in the fourth quarter there was opportunities for myself to make plays and I didn't get the job done. There were receivers open and I felt like if I got them the ball then maybe we would've moved down the field and scored the go ahead touchdown. All we can do from this experience is, I have to go to the film room tomorrow and see where I made those mistakes and fix them up because this is an awfully good football team and we have a lot of talent at wide receiver and offensive line, so I've got to get them the ball and I got to make plays."

Osweiler completed 11 of 27 pass attempts for 153 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also added 6 carries for 22 yards, showing off some of his mobility.

Though all losses are tough, the Sun Devils have to take pride in what they did against the No. 12 team in the nation, especially with a true freshman at the helm for the majority of the game.

"Any time you compete with a team like we did tonight, it shows a lot," Osweiler said, "but at the same time we've known all year and we know right now how good of a football team we are, and we feel that we can compete with anybody in the country, so we're not backing down from anybody and I know these next three football games are going to be close games and now it's just up to our offense to make big plays at the right times and get ourselves in the end zone."

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