Earlier this week, Matt Zemek profiled the historic nature of the 2013 loss by the USC Trojans to the Arizona State Sun Devils. In that game, the Sun Devils overwhelmed the USC defense and put a 62-41 beating on the Trojans.
Last season, with Steve Sarkisian in control, USC was looking for revenge. It was a tight game with both teams going back and forth. At halftime, USC was up 17-15. At the end of the third quarter, USC still held a two-point lead, 20-18.
The fourth quarter was all USC (or at least that’s how it started). With just three minutes left in the game, the Trojans had built a nine-point lead. USC looked like it was heading to a win.
After a USC touchdown, Arizona State immediately answered with a one-play, 73-yard drive that took 19 seconds (Mike Bercovici hit Cameron Smith on a long pass).
USC got the ball back, leading by two points with 2:43 left to play. Surely the Trojans could run out the clock. USC ran the ball three times for a total of -2 yards. The Trojans left 26 seconds on the clock.
Would it be enough for Arizona State?
Cody Kessler, who as you know is USC’s QB, had been used three times in the game as the punter. His results to this point in the game had been solid. In the most critical spot in the game, he punted the ball just 18 yards, giving added life to the Sun Devils.
Arizona State QB Mike Bercovici completed a 26-yard pass to Gary Chambers to put the Sun Devils in position to take a shot. Then, a number of poorly positioned USC defenders (who were more worried about catching the ball than knocking it down) allowed the Sun Devils to connect on this unbelievable Hail Mary play, which allowed Arizona State to beat the Trojans for the second straight season:
When Devils beat you on a prayer, you know you did something horribly wrong.