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Sully Says: ASU's best coaching job

Blake Anderson kisses the trophy after winning the Cure Bowl (KATV Photo)

It was bound to happen.

You can't change coaches year after year without it finally taking a toll on your program. 2016 could have been that season for ASU.

Coaches will tell you that they remember what happens in November. I wonder what Blake Anderson would say about September of 2016.

The headline on September 24th could not have been any worse for the ASU nation: "Central Arkansas beats Arkansas St for first FBS win." ASU turned it over four times in the 28-23 loss. The Red Wolves were 0-for September. 0-4 heading into Sun Belt play.

Most ASU fans would call that rock bottom. Blake Anderson said that's somewhere you have to go before you can start bringing yourself back.

One play can change a season.

Georgia Southern was one play away from sending ASU to 0-5.

Trailing 26-20 with less than two minutes to go, ASU was facing a 4th and 16 from its own 24-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Justice Hansen, who's not exactly a speed demon, couldn't find an open receiver and took off. The run seemed like it took forever. Somehow, Hansen managed to pick up the first down. How incredible was the first down run? Coach Anderson dubbed it the "immaculate scramble." Ten plays later, Hansen hooked up with Omar Bayless for what officials ruled a touchdown, a game-winning touchdown. I'm still not sure it was a touchdown.

Fast forward two and a half months. ASU is now 8-5. The Red Wolves are AutoNation Cure Bowl champs. The game wasn't even close; ASU whipped Central Florida 31-13.

Malzahn, Freeze, and Harsin. They all had great seasons in Jonesboro, but none of the three orchestrated an in-season turnaround like this.

Blake Anderson led his Red Wolves from rock bottom to a convincing bowl win.



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