Don Hansen

“ASU Holiday Party 12 Pack of Plays” – Play #1


From now until the Holiday Bowl game on December 30th, the ASU Devils Den will be highlighting our “ASU Holiday Party 12 Pack of Plays”. This season featured numerous dynamic plays on offense and terrific, game-changing plays on defense. Rather than trying to select a single play, the “ASU Holiday Party 12 Pack of Plays” will be a continual month long celebration of the 2013 Sun Devil season.

Play #1: The Wisconsin Knee

Saturday night ESPN game on September 14, 2013.

2013 Sun Devil Blackout in Tempe.

Big-10 Power with Three Consecutive Rose Bowl Appearances vs Pac-12 “Sleeping Giant” with Pac-12 Title Goals

Everyone should have expected something big to happen during this early season match-up, and one of the craziest plays in college football took place as Wisconsin was driving down the field at the end of the game.

As Wisconsin drove down the field, the Badgers reached the Sun Devils 13 yard line with 18 seconds on the clock and no timeouts. The plan was for Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave to run two plays before the clock read 0:03. Stave was going to call a quarterback running play and center the ball for Wisconsin’s placekicker. Then, Stave was going to line-up the offense and spike the ball to stop the clock, so the kicking unit could run onto the field and kick. Both plays had to be run prior to the clock reading 0:03 per new NCAA rules. However, Wisconsin never got a chance to kick its 32 yard field goal.

ESPN has the video of “Arizona State’s 12 Plays of Christmas” Play #1:

Stave takes the snap and moves to the center of the field, but as he is taking a knee, he stumbles into the back of an offensive lineman. From the television camera angle and the north end, it was seen that the quarterback’s knee quickly touched the turf. However, from the south end zone view, and more importantly the Arizona State defense and the umpire view, it was difficult to see Stave put his knee down as the big Wisconsin offensive lineman was in the way. The Sun Devils pounced on the ball, as taught by their coaching staff. Confusion erupted, and time expired with the Sun Devils on top.

In the days that followed this crazy play, the referees were reprimanded by the Pac-12. Certainly, the referee could have been much more definitive in his communication to the umpire that the quarterback was down. However, the quarterback could have been much more definitive in taking a knee, staying down, and handing the ball to the umpire to set up for the next snap. This play had impacts off the field as well. Throughout the season, AP and Coaches Poll voters would provide sympathy for the Badgers as if the field goal on the road was an automatic make for a Wisconsin victory. Nobody ever discusses that Wisconsin placekicker Kyle French missed a 32 yard field during the second quarter of their huge game against Ohio State.

Bottom line is that time expired after this play by Joel Stave. The Sun Devils emerged victorious over a difficult opponent at the beginning of its four game early season gauntlet, and Sun Devil nation got to witness defensive star Will Sutton sprint around Frank Kush field in pure celebratory joy.


12/13/13 – This morning, I was informed that another site covering Arizona State athletics has produced a blog series “ASU’s 12 Plays of Christmas” previously. I came up with the idea for our series as I was reading Christmas stories and songs to my baby girl in the days following the Territorial Cup game. I had been keeping a running list of plays of the season, reached a total of 12 to 15 plays I considered top plays, and the term just came to me. However, I failed to do a proper check to ensure it hadn’t been done before. 

I will continue to write our series, but I will rename it. Since we have a podcast segment called “Beers of the Week” and since not everybody celebrates “Christmas”, I have decided to rename the series “The ASU Devils Den Holiday Party 12 Pack of Plays”, the 2013 edition. 

We take great pride in providing Sun Devil nation the most Sun Devil information with the best independent, original, honest, and non-biased commentary, and in absolutely no way was I attempting to use a blog title another site had done previously.


About Don Hansen

Don Hansen

Don is a 2003 graduate of Arizona State University where he spent four years sitting in the front rows of many ASU athletic events leading the rowdy student section. Now, Don co-hosts the "ASU Devils Den" podcast covering every detail of ASU football. Don works and resides in Gilbert, Arizona with his beautiful Sun Devil wife and their two beautiful daughters!

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