Uniqueness of ASU's win over Wisconsin doesn't diminish its value

Arizona Sports News online

In the aftermath of Arizona State’s controversial 32-30 win over Wisconsin Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium, a sociologically interesting phenomenon started to play out on the Internet.

With apoplectic opposing fans and captious media questioning the legitimacy of the victory, ASU fans grew increasingly defensive.

Don’t rob yourself of the enjoyment of ASU’s win just because Sparky didn’t use his trident to displace the still-beating heart of Bucky Badger from his chest.

It seemed like a lot of Sun Devil faithful felt they had to justify the validity of the outcome, if not to others, perhaps at least to themselves.

I’m here to tell you that’s a bunch of nonsense. Hogwash. Baloney. Tomfoolery.

Don’t rob yourself of the enjoyment of ASU’s win just because Sparky didn’t use his trident to displace the still-beating heart of Bucky Badger from his chest.

ASU is 2-0, Wisconsin is 2-1 and that’s it.

Doesn’t matter if Wisconsin or its fans though it was illegitimate.

Doesn’t matter if people have conflicting options of what happened on the game’s final play.

Image courtesy ASUDevils.com
Image courtesy ASUDevils.com

Doesn’t matter if the Pac-12 reprimanded the officiating crew on Monday for not displaying enough of a sense of urgency.

You know what matters? The final score.

If you want to go back and parse through every play, how about Wisconsin’s third and 8 from its own 42 yard line earlier in the second quarter when Badgers’ quarterback Joel Stave had his knee on the ground before flicking the ball to Jordan Frederick to move the chains? Wisconsin would have been facing fourth and long, an almost-certain punt situation, but instead scored a touchdown that drive to take a 7-3 lead.

Or you can look later in the same quarter when ASU’s Jaelen Strong was obviously interfered with on a third and 4 from its own 32 yard line. The Wisconsin cornerback had his arm around Strong and on his back to prevent him from releasing back to the football, which was still more than five yards away. On the very next play, ASU snapped the ball past its punter and Wisconsin recovered it in the end zone to take a 14-3 lead.

photo courtesy ASUDevils.com
image courtesy ASUDevils.com

It doesn’t seem like any Wisconsin fans or national media want to talk about those plays, but they dramatically changed the course of the rest of the game.

So no, don’t worry about how the game ended, just worry about the final score. That’s all that mattered in the days after ASU narrowly lost at Wisconsin in 2010 by a score of 20-19.

Don’t remember that game so well? Maybe you should.

Here’s a refresher.

ASU receiver T.J. Simpson was brazenly interfered with in the end zone on a third-quarter pass intended for him by quarterback Steven Threet that wasn’t called.

Pictures showed the Badger defender running headfirst into Simpson with the ball still far away. No penalty was thrown by the Big Ten officials on the play and ASU managed only a field goal on the possession.

From its own 28 yard line on second and 8 with fewer than four minutes remaining in the game, Wisconsin benefited from another call that was highly contentious.

ASU defensive end James Brooks lightly pushed Badgers quarterback Scott Tolzien after a throw and was given a 15-yard penalty that had to be among the most gentle and unnecessary such fouls issued in that or any season.

There were other calls that went against the visitor that day, including a possible touchdown catch by George Bell that was ruled out of bounds.

Wisconsin went on to bleed out the clock and end the game with its quarterback taking a knee.

Same thing happened on Saturday in Tempe.


Enjoy it, ASU.