ASU's Coyle finds redemption against Illinois

After just missing potential winning catch in last year's Illinois game, Chris Coyle gets redemption.

Not many players or fans associated with the Arizona State program can work up an angry lather when talking about Illinois football. Chris Coyle is one.

In the closing moments of last season’s 17-14 loss in Champaign, Ill., Coyle had a chance to deliver victory and vault the Sun Devils to a 3-0 start. Quarterback Brock Osweiler was supposed to throw an out pattern to get a first down in Illinois territory on a fourth-down play. Instead, Osweiler checked out of that play when he saw Coyle come open downfield with nothing between him and the end zone but grass.

Osweiler’s pass was close -- but not close enough. The ball floated just out of the reach of Coyle’s outstretched arms and fell incomplete, and Illinois had its first win over a top-25 opponent in its last 11 tries.

“I’ve never forgotten that last pass,” Coyle said Saturday after ASU throttled Illinois 45-14 at Sun Devil Stadium. “It was inches away.”

It seemed years away after Coyle hauled in what seems comical to call a career-high 10 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s win. Coyle had 73 career receiving yards entering Saturday’s game -- a total that would have been slightly higher had he hauled in that 2011 pass on a cool night in central Illinois.

“I knew I was going to have to make some plays in this game. I definitely had some payback coming for these guys,” Coyle said. “I think I made up for it by catching everything tonight but one pass that I still should have caught because it touched my hands.”

-- Craig Morgan