Slide show: ASU football vs. Stanford Cardinal


Photos by Connor Radnovich

The ASU Sun Devils took on Stanford Cardinal in the third installment of the Pac-12 Championship Saturday night.

After keeping close with Stanford for most of the first half, ASU failed to score in the second half, losing in front of a national audience 38-14.

The Sun Devils reached the title game for their first time since the creation of the championship game two years ago.

Senior runningback Marion Grice sat out the game for the second straight week, allowing sophomore D.J. Foster to take over the main duties. Foster seized the opportunity, scoring twice on big plays of 51 yards and 65 yards.

Junior quarterback Taylor Kelly completed 17 of 25 passes for just 173 yards and one touchdown.

The high-octane offense that Sun Devil fans have become accustomed to seeing sputtered on the cold December night.

ASU was only able to muster up a total of 311 yards against a stout Stanford defense. The Cardinal never found trouble getting their offense going, using a balanced attack to gain more than 500 yards.

ASU dropped its first home game after going 7-0 during the regular season.

The win over ASU will send Stanford to its second consecutive Rose Bowl appearance.

The Sun Devils will now travel to San Diego for this year’s Holiday Bowl against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Dec. 30.

Written by Troy Lopez.

Suns cool down after hot start

Photo by Cydney McFarland

Photo by Cydney McFarland

Wednesday night, the Phoenix Suns returned home and dropped the second of their home-and-home series with the Sacramento Kings. The loss was the team’s fourth in a row after starting the season at 5-2.

Phoenix has played every opponent close so far this season, with only two of the team’s 11 games decided by more than 10 points, both wins.

The Suns’ main problem this season has been having one bad quarter ruin an otherwise well-played game. In Wednesday’s loss to Sacramento, the team only scored 12 points in the third quarter to Sacramento’s 19, which turned out to be the difference in the game. If the Suns had put up an adequate quarter of basketball, the game could have turned out differently.

As a team that not many picked to be competitive at all, the Phoenix Suns have been a pleasant surprise — or not so pleasant, depending on which fans you talk to. The schedule continues to get tougher, with many top teams still to come the rest of the season, and it will be interesting how this young team will respond.

The Suns have been an exciting team to watch so far this season, electrifying the US Airways Center with a plethora of three-pointers and dunks from the likes of Gerald Green and Eric Bledsoe and playing close in nearly every game this year. The crowds have been average for what Phoenix was expecting, but if the team keeps playing exciting basketball, they could grow as the season continues.

Slide Show: ASU football vs Oregon State Beavers


Photos by Connor Radnovich

Over the weekend, the ASU Sun Devils faced off against the Oregon State Beavers, needing a victory to stay one game ahead of the UCLA Bruins in the race for Pac-12 South championship.

They got just that.

It may not have been the blowout-style victory that Sun Devil fans have become accustomed to over the past few weeks, but the 30-17 victory was enough to set the Sun Devils up for a huge matchup against the Bruins at the Rose Bowl next weekend.

The ASU offense didn’t look strong early on as quarterback Taylor Kelly threw interceptions on back-to-back drives after opening up the game with a touchdown. The Sun Devils eventually found a rhythm, scoring two more touchdowns in the first half to build a 20-0 lead.

Oregon State scored a field goal at the end of the second quarter and added a touchdown midway through the third to cut ASU’s lead down to 10.

The Sun Devils were unable to separate themselves from the Beavers, failing to score an offensive touchdown in the second half.

Cornerback Robert Nelson was able to put the game away for ASU when he picked off OSU quarterback Sean Mannion and returned the ball 23 yards to put the Sun Devils up 30-10 with just more than five minutes remaining.

With the win, ASU remains in control over its own destiny toward a Pac-12 South championship. A victory over UCLA next weekend clinches the South division and a spot in this year’s Pac-12 championship game.

Written by Troy Lopez.

Suns provide students with cheap tickets

Photo by Alexis Macklin

Photo by Alexis Macklin

Love basketball but think that Suns tickets are too expensive? Think again. For the entire month of November, the Phoenix Suns are offering $5 upper-level seats for anyone who shows a student ID. The promotion is designed to bring more people to US Airways Center at the beginning of the year and hopefully throughout the season.

Freshman Jonathan Diego is very excited about the opportunity.

“I get to see professional basketball at a very high level from an excellent view for a very cheap price,” Diego said. “I’m not a Suns fan by any stretch of the imagination, but basketball is basketball.”

Diego is most excited to see the newly loaded Brooklyn Nets come to Phoenix. “I’ve always wanted to see Kevin Garnett play live.”

Some students, like freshman Gabriel Sandler, had not heard about the promotion but are very excited about the prospects.

“I feel like as college students, we get all these great opportunities, and even if it’s for lack of something else to do, why wouldn’t I go to an inexpensive professional basketball game?” Sandler said.

Sandler believes that the promotion can be a success with basketball addicts as well as casual observers.

“Regardless of how interested anyone is in sports, it’s a very fun atmosphere and I’m very excited that I can enjoy it without breaking my wallet,” he said.

Sandler, a lifelong Celtics fan, is also looking towards the Suns matchup with the Nets. “As hard as it is to see Pierce and Garnett out of green, it’s hard not to root for the players you love. Plus, it’s only $5, so it’s worth going.”

As the season continues, there will be plenty of opportunities to see this year’s edition of the Phoenix Suns, but November may be the best chance for college kids to catch a game without draining their wallets.

Intramural runners-up get a second chance

Photo by Alexis Macklin

Photo by Alexis Macklin

As the clock expired on Oct. 24, a bale of dejected Sea Turtles faced their fans for one last wave of appreciation. They had come into the playoffs looking very strong, with only one loss, and one loss was what it took to knock them out. It was especially painful as the Sea Turtles lost to their biggest rivals, the Good Fellas.

However, at 2:17 on the morning of Friday, Oct. 25, Sea Turtles’ quarterback Cammeron Neely got a call from Intramural Coordinator Andrea Collica.

“As soon as I got the call, I knew something was happening. She let me know we were going to UCLA for regionals,” said Neely.

However, only the victor of the Downtown Phoenix Men’s Intramural Flag Football League has the chance to contend for the regional title — and the Good Fellas were, seemingly, just that.

Until news broke that the Good Fellas had been disqualified.

News roared through the players’ social media sites Friday, saying that the team who had won the championship game the previous night had been banned from playing in the regionals due to an ineligible player.

According to Neely, who spoke to the Good Fellas captain, the ineligible player had previously attended ASU and therefore still had an active Sun Card. However, he had not registered for any classes this semester and, as a result, had broken the strict requisites required to be granted a spot on the ASU Prep field.

This news thrilled the Sea Turtles, who will now get something much-coveted in the sports world: a second chance.

The Sea Turtles will travel to UCLA on Veterans Day weekend and will play in the regionals. This is another tournament, which guarantees at least three games for the Sea Turtles. However, the team hopes to take home the Pac-12 Intramural Flag Football gold, utilizing the misfortune of the Good Fellas and turning it into a fortune of their own.

Suns begin new season on strong note

Photo by Alexis Macklin

Photo by Alexis Macklin

A new beginning is under way for the Phoenix Suns after their season opener Wednesday night. The Suns hosted the Portland Trail Blazers at US Airways Center and gave the fans something to be excited about — at least, those fans who were in attendance.

For a home opener, US Airways definitely had a lack of people in seats. Some fans speculated as to why.

“(The Suns) had a horrible season last season,” Lou, a self-proclaimed “die-hard” Suns fan, said, “(They) need to regain the fans’ trust.”

The Suns are coming off a 25-57 season and lost a lot of loyal fans finishing last in the Western Conference.

Fran Cambria, a Phoenix resident, agrees that this is a part of the attendance problem but says the almost completely new roster also accounts for it. When looking at the Sun’s roster, she said she barely recognized any of the players’ names.

“I’m just not sure the hype is here yet,” Cambria said.

It is true that the Suns have a very new look for their team. The Suns enter the 2013-14 NBA season with 10 new players and a new coach. The franchise is using the phrase “ignite the future” to brand the team. Excluding currently inactive player Emeka Okafor, the Suns are the sixth-youngest team in the league and the least experienced. This gives fans a reason to be wary.

However, Wednesday night, the Suns came out with a run-and-gun offense that left fans impressed. Coach Jeff Hornacek played nine different players, and all but one was able to score. The young squad also showed off their upbeat style of play with 31 fast break points.

Perhaps the most impressive player was starting center Miles Plumlee. Plumlee, who played limited minutes for the Indiana Pacers last season, was dominant. In his first career start, Plumlee came away with a double-double, scoring 18 points and pulling in 15 rebounds, five of which were on the offensive end.

It wasn’t all perfect for the Suns though. The young squad went through a few streaks of very sloppy play and turned the ball over 15 times. After all was said and done, the Suns still came away with a 104-91 victory over the Trailblazers.

Fans definitely have things to look forward to this season.

“Hornacek wants to bring the excitement back. It’s going to be an exciting season!” Lou said.

While leaving the stadium, fans were talking about how exciting the team is to watch, with one fan even calling for the playoffs. While it is still early to say anything about the postseason, the Suns proved that their season may not be as unbearable as previously thought. This young team proved to have some talent, and fans are likely in for an interesting season as the new Suns squad “ignites the future!”

Intramural football season comes to an end

Photo by Alexis Macklin

Photo by Alexis Macklin

Under the schoolyard lights, neon and black jerseys sprint the length of the field. A chant of “fear the shell” echoes from the stands, and camaraderie is evident. Play by play, the Goodfellas overpower the Sea Turtles, intercepting quarterback Cammeron Neely multiple times early on. Yet, the Sea Turtles — and their enthusiastic fans — don’t back down. As play continues, shouts from the sidelines cut through the Phoenix night. “We need shorts!”

The Intramural Flag Football Championship, in which the No. 1 Sea Turtles battled the reigning champs, the Goodfellas, featured the invasion of the Twitterverse through hashtags on signs and jerseys and “The Great Shorts Conspiracy.”

After ripping his shorts during the semifinal game earlier in the night, Neely played most of the first half of the championship game with his shorts torn to shreds. At one point, the scorekeepers had to tape the offending fabric directly to Neely. A frantic search for extra shorts began on the sidelines. Luckily for the Sea Turtles, a fan was able to dash back to Taylor Place and save everyone Neely’s pants falling completely off.

With a few minutes left, the Goodfellas looked like they secured another win, leading the game 19-0, but the Sea Turtles still had some power in them, scoring two touchdowns within the last two minutes. However, it was not enough to defeat the Goodfellas, who claimed their second championship in a row, with a final score of 19-12.

The “Great Shorts Conspiracy” might live on with fans, but the quarterbacks for both teams think otherwise.

“I think it was my four to five interceptions that did it,” Neely said. “I was just bad.”

Tony Aguilera, quarterback for the Goodfellas, credits his defense for the win.

“I might be quarterback, but I respect the D,” Aguilera said.

As for next year, both teams are looking to once again face off.

“It’s them and us in this,” Neely said. “If these guys graduate, we’ll win.”

Aguilera, a senior, on the other hand won’t say that their graduating players are done.

“Alumni can play, so we’re all back,” he said.

Until then, the conspiracy lives.

ASU football vs. Washington Huskies

Arizona State University linebacker Carl Bradford screams in celebration after the Sun Devils defeated the Washington Huskies 53-24 Saturday, Oct. 19, in Sun Devil Stadium. (Connor Radnovich/DD)

 

It was not the result most experts picked, but it was the result that ASU football needed.

The Sun Devils entered the pivotal conference game against the previously ranked Washington Huskies and dominated them from start to finish for a 53-24 victory.

The ASU defense stuffed the nation’s leading rusher, holding Washington running back Bishop Sankey to 22 yards for the game. Sankey averaged nearly 150 yards per game entering the game on Saturday.

ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly racked up 352 total yards and four touchdowns. Running back Marion Grice rushed for two touchdowns and caught another to raise his total touchdowns to 18 on the season.

The win, coupled with UCLA’s loss earlier in the day to Stanford, puts the Sun Devils in the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 South championship. ASU leads in the Pac-12 South but have yet to face UCLA.

ASU gets next weekend off but resumes play the week after when they travel to Pullman, Wash., to face the Washington State Cougars.

Written by Troy Lopez

Quidditch coming to downtown Phoenix

Photo by Alexandra Scoville

Photo by Alexandra Scoville

One of the biggest crazes across college campuses is about to hit downtown Phoenix. Last month, Aaron Hopkins-Johnson, owner of Lawn Gnome Publishing, announced that the bookstore will be hosting Quidditch games downtown.

Quidditch is the fictional sport played in the hit Harry Potter book and movie series. The sport has been adapted for play in real life and has grown quite popular among college students. In this version, referred to as “Muggle Quidditch,” teams compete to score a volleyball, called the Quaffle, through three ring-shaped goals. There are also Beaters, who use dodgeballs — Bludgers — to take out opponents.

A big part of the sport is catching the golden Snitch. In the Muggle version of the sport, teams chase someone dressed as the Snitch, a person in yellow carrying a dangling tennis ball. When the tennis ball has been grabbed by a designated player on either team, the match ends. The most interesting part of the game is that every player must run up and down the field with a broomstick between their legs.

ASU does have an official Quidditch team, based on the Tempe campus. With Hopkins-Johnson’s announcement, Downtown students will now have the ability to be a part of the Quidditch phenomenon. Unlike most Lawn Gnome events, the Quidditch matches will not be held in the backyard. Instead, matches will take place at parks throughout downtown. Hopkins-Johnson says this will double as a movement to occupy the downtown Phoenix parks.

Lawn Gnome is still in the process of getting everything together in order to host a functional game of Quidditch. Materials such as volleyballs, dodgeballs and hula hoops, which make the goals, are required. Once everything is ready, Lawn Gnome will host pickup games monthly.

Slide Show: ASU football vs. Colorado Buffaloes


Photos by Connor Radnovich

After one of the toughest four-game stretches in all of college football, ASU football got an unofficial break this weekend against the Colorado Buffaloes.

Quarterback Taylor Kelly’s 233 yards and two touchdowns helped lead the Sun Devils to a comfortable 54-13 victory. Running back Marion Grice’s two touchdowns came in the first quarter, helping ASU notch its second Pac-12 conference victory.

It took ASU just less than two minutes into the first quarter to score its first touchdown of the night on a 69-yard pass from Kelly to sophomore wide receiver Jaelen Strong.

Kelly also had a rushing touchdown in the first quarter before being benched for the entire second half because of ASU’s 47-6 lead at the break.

The dominating victory came a week after ASU suffered a nail-biting loss to Notre Dame on national television.

Now the Sun Devils will turn their focus to No. 20 Washington, who are coming off a disappointing loss to No. 2 Oregon at home.

Saturday’s game against the Huskies is featured as this year’s homecoming game for ASU.

Written by Troy Lopez