Updated Sep 10, 2011 - 1:06 am
Arizona State's night to live up to the hype
The night finally arrived.
The night for Arizona State to live up -- or down -- to the hype that has been placed upon them.
Fair or not, since last season ended with their win in Tucson over rival Arizona, it has always been about "wait until next year."
Brock Osweiler had shown promise. The skill positions were returning fast - - extremely fast. The defense is full of talent.
The team has finished a practice with a "BCS" chant. They talked a bit about the Sugar Bowl at their media day.
Fan expectations are high. Media members have marked them as the team that could make a serious run after not going to a bowl last year and starting this season outside the AP Top 25.
If you go by wins and losses -- and you should -- they lived up to the hype for this one night. The Sun Devils defeated the Missouri Tigers 37-30 in overtime.
This was the night they had to. A home loss on national television in front of a near capacity crowd in the highly promoted "Blackout" atmosphere would have been more than just one loss.
This was nowhere near a "pretty" win, but in the end it was a win.
Arizona State had to beat Missouri to gain credibility and show everyone they can be looked at as a team that moved on from a bowl-less season full of heartbreak and close losses -- sans the Arizona game.
They needed to prove to themselves they could beat a formidable opponent. It was their first win over a ranked team since 2007 -- Erickson's first year in Tempe and the year they won 10 games and went to the Holiday Bowl.
This game was talked about as Arizona State's "measuring stick" for the season. It was amplified when they announced it would be a "Blackout" and were hoping for a sellout.
For the game itself the Sun Devils started off fast with four of their five drives in the first half resulting in scores or scoring chances (a missed field goal was how their first drive ended).
Less than a minute into the fourth quarter they took a 30-16 lead and looked every bit the hype. It takes 60 minutes to win a football game and not 46.
A slew of penalties, a muffed punt and two bad possessions tied in with two Missouri touchdowns and you could see it on the fans' faces, "here we go again." Games like this were lost way too often by this team in 2010.
Friday night ended differently. The Sun Devils went to overtime and did what they had to do.
Is this a sign of things to come?
Only time will tell. They lived up to the hype in the most important game of their season. Now, next Saturday at Illinois is the most important. This big win against a ranked Missouri team won't feel as sweet if the momentum isn't carried on to another week.