We are going to the playoffs for the 5th straight season and appearing in the postseason for the 7th straight season. 9-2 that could have been 10-1 or 11-0, with a new system on both offense and defense and a new coaching staff with the same expectations but a different style to get things done. How many teams can say that they replicated the success of a previous coaching staff and are every bit as capable or replicating that success? This game was a indicator of how much of a gut check we could take and found us more than able to go on the road against a very tough team and still win by 2 scores.
Offense-Could not seem to get out of our own way for the most part, but when it counted, the unit came through. We needed a score to counter ASU’s opening field goal and we got it. We needed a Field goal to push the lead to a full TD and we got it, and we needed a touchdown to ice the game and we got it with the perfect play call. It was so far from perfect, but at the same time so clutch when we needed it. The last play call was just a perfectly drawn up play and perfectly executed. Tim McMurray loved it, just look at the featured photo.
Defense: Two words to borrow from B.Minor; “Championship Level.” This defense was fantastic. They not only played well, they executed their plan to near perfection. Great open field tackles, no stupid penalties, and no blown coverage schemes. This unit just held a team that had been averaging 37 points per game and held them to 3. Angelo was 408 yards of total offense and was held to 161 total. This is the kind of defense that wins you Championships. Oh, and the best part? You had two of your best players and playmakers out for the game. That goes to coaching and having your team prepared.
Special Teams: Nobody ever seems to care about the importance of a punter, but the team of Jake Viquez and Andrew Gomez were so instrumental in kicking into a stiff wind and still preventing ASU from returning any kicks. Jake Viquez knocked through a clutch kick to move the the margin from 4 points to 7, keeping the pressure on the ASU offense that was held in check the entire game. Coverage was great and Viquez boomed kickoffs into the end zone to prevent any kind of returns.
Overall: I want to say this. David Bailiff has done a tremendous job in his first year and has earned the respect of the ENTIRE fan base. It is the one of the few times in program history that a Coach has taken over this program on the upside matched the success of his predecessor right off the bat. Bailiff seems to be in the perfect place at this point in his career. I also have to throw huge props to Tim McMurray for making a well thought out decision to hire an experienced coach who is vastly underrated and has had success everywhere he has been having to turn programs around. This team can beat anyone. It has the talent, the coaching, the fan and school support, and the culture to make a run at a national championship. We have done it before.