You Can’t Spell Frustration Without ASU

So what can I say about the Arizona State game. It was another frustrating game for USC fans despite the win. Unlike the last road game in Eugene I had a pretty good time on this brief road trip with the football game being the lowlight. That’s unusual for a victory.

I love road games that start late enough that I can fly out on the morning of the game and make it in time for kickoff. That means one less day out of town which gives me more free time in L.A. and lower travel expenses.

ASU was one of those road games that started late enough to fly out Saturday morning. In fact kickoff was so late that I was able to enjoy several hours of pregame tailgating.

After some major headaches picking up the rental car I got to the stadium around 12pm which meant I’d have about five hours of tailgating. I parked in a lot that had many USC tailgaters so it felt like home.

I spent most of the day tailgating with a group that had an SUV with four different flatscreen TV’s running out of the back. It sounds impressive, and it was, but it wasn’t fancy. The multi-TV setup was cobbled together in true MacGyver fashion.

4 TVs. 1 SUV. Nice.

Once I got to the stadium the first thing I noticed was a banner memorializing ASU’s appearances in the Salad Bowl. I’m sure I’ve seen the banner before but I forget about it and every time I visit it’s like seeing it for the first time. And each time I get a kick out of how pathetic that is.

Proud Moments in ASU History

The next thing I noticed is how many empty seats there were in the stadium. Of all the road games this season the ASU game had the highest percentage of unsold seats.

There were more people at kickoff. But not many.

And the people who decided not to come sure didn’t miss much. The game was slow, lumbering, boring. The score was only 7-3 at halftime and the final was 14-9. It wasn’t one of those epic gridiron battles either, it was an epic exercise in futility. USC was 2-13 on third down conversions and ASU was only 5-18 on third down. There were only two offensive touchdowns in the game, one by each team. USC managed a meager 12 first downs (23 for ASU) and only 258 yards of total offense (3347 for ASU).

One of the most frustrating aspects of the game for USC is that the Trojans got four turnovers, which have been in short supply this year, but had little to show for them.

After the beating USC took against Oregon it was nice to see the defense limit ASU to nine points but that was due to ASU’s offensive ineptitude as much as USC’s defensive prowess.

After the game I had to head right to the hotel to get some rest because my flight back to L.A. was early Sunday morning. That was a bummer because the nightlife at ASU is as good as any school USC travels to. Mill Avenue is full of fun restaurants, bars and clubs, but I didn’t get to take advantage of that on this year’s trip.

Next week’s game is against Stanford. They scare the hell out of me but I’m cautiously optimistic.

Fight On!

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