With kickoff from the Tempe deserts not happening until 10:30 p.m. ET, there was a good chance you didn't see the ending of the instant-classic between Arizona State and Wisconsin. Both schools were looking to make a national statement with conference play right around the corner, and it seemed the final outcome could go either way throughout.
For those who didn't see the final 30 seconds, there's a great recap from Spencer Hall here. Once the dust finally settled, our blogs gave their insight to not only the controversial ending, but the entire game, which was pretty great from start to finish.
Our ASU blog, House of Sparky, was understandably pleased with the final outcome, but had a lot of concerns with how the Sun Devils played at times. Here was their take on the defense:
On defense, the Sun Devils were the definition of hot and cold. For every big play (like Carl Bradford hurrying Stave on the potential game-tying two-point conversion), there was a head scratcher (like allowing Jeff Duckworth to run wild for a 51-yard catch in the final minute). To their credit, they did only allow 23 points since one touchdown came off a botched punt. And only 23 points to a big play team such as the Badgers should always be considered a success.
Bucky's 5th Quarter was still numb after the loss on Sunday morning, even with Wisconsin's history of heartbreaking losses on the road:
Still, it's hard to sum up the grotesque uniqueness of 2013's first loss. In a game that featured plenty of highs (Melvin Gordon just being Melvin Gordon, Jeff Duckworth showing up after a two-year slumber) and lows (the abysmal performance of quarterback Joel Stave, the surgeon-like picking apart of the Wisconsin secondary), perhaps nothing in the history of Badger football has seen an ending like Saturday night.
Our Big Ten blog, Off Tackle Empire, was understandably livid at how the officials handled the final minute of play:
Sweet Jesus, Wisconsin got screwed. I mean, honestly, that was highway robbery by the officials, who completely blew it at the end of that game. Joel Stave kneeled down, Arizona State should have been penalized for falling on the ball that way, and the referees should have done SOMETHING to restore order to the chaos of those final minutes. Keep in mind, though, Wisconsin still would have had to make that FG to win. A gritty performance in what should have been a nice win by the Badgers, who clearly are going up on my own power rankings. Melvin Gordon is an absolute beast -- 193 yards rushing on only 15 carries, 2 TDs, and countless defenders left eating his dust. Pac-12 officials completely suck, and we should refuse to play in any game in which they are used ever again. Just a goddamn disgrace ...