2012 ─ The Beginning
The year is 2012. Tim Tebow just led the Broncos passed the Pittsburgh Steelers with an 80-yard touchdown pass in overtime in the AFC Wild Card Playoff, and the film “Marvel’s The Avengers” is released.
Graham’s first season as Arizona State’s head coach has been a wild roller coaster ride after a hot start to the season. The Sun Devils began the season by winning five of their first six games before enduring a four-game losing streak.
The streak is snapped one game before a matchup against Arizona as the Sun Devils enter the game just one game above .500 at a record of 6-5. While the maroon and gold stumble at the beginning, Rodriguez’s Wildcats enter after a successful first season at a record of 7-4 and are ranked No. 24 in the nation.
Led by running back Marion Grice, ASU jumps out to an early lead as Grice rushes for two touchdowns to put the Sun Devils up 14-9 at the half. The Wildcats would not stay down for long as U of A quarterback – and now BMW Salesman – Matt Scott mounts an 18-point quarter behind two touchdown passes and a field goal.
Graham’s squad was down but not out as a 24-point fourth quarter rally from the Sun Devils pushed the team ahead following three rushing touchdowns in the quarter.
The rushing attack led by Grice, who finished with 156 yards and three touchdowns, and forcing three turnovers from Scott propels Graham to his first Territorial cup victory at Arizona State, 41-34.
Following the victory, ASU was selected to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, defeating Navy to finish the season at an 8-5 record in Graham’s inaugural season as head coach.