“I just told myself I was going to have the best game of my life,” Lewis said. “Just go out there and make plays. It was about time for me to make plays so I stepped up and made them. It was exactly what I needed. I got some play time and now I’m going to build off of that and continue to make plays.”
Late in the second half, Lewis intercepted WSU quarterback Jeff Tuel in the end zone. Although the pass was initially ruled incomplete, the replay proved that Lewis in fact had his foot inbounds.
“I just got thrown in there,” Lewis stated. “They put my back to the wall when they were on the goal line so I knew initially that he was going to throw the ball to me because the quarterback stared me down so I had a clue that he was going to throw my way. So, when he threw my way I just took advantage of it and took the ball from the receiver.”
Part of the success that maroon and gold defense found against Washington State was the strength of their pass rush. The Sun Devils recorded five total sacks on Tuel and two interceptions.
“It took a lot of pressure off of us,” Lewis admitted. “Actually, when they gave the pressure it kind of alerted us to get ready for the pass because it’s coming quicker so we were alert.”
The maroon and gold defense responded to their 50-17 loss to California the previous week with their first shutout of the season. After their disappointing loss, the Sun Devils were determined to move forward and focus on their next opponent.
“We’re not too worried about Cal because it’s behind us,” Lewis commented. “We’re going to keep going forward and keep improving. We wiped it out of our minds, short term memory.”
The 5-11 193 Lewis began his career at ASU playing cornerback, but was then moved to offense to join the wide receivers group. In 2009, Lewis played 9 games at wide receiver for the maroon and gold before returning to his natural position.
“I don’t think it was too difficult,” Lewis said of that transition. “Corner was my home spot so when I got converted to receiver I just learned the plays but then one of our players went down so I had to step up again and just go out there and continue what I was doing.
“It was a fun time, it was like a 180 from offense to defense, and I had fun with those guys. Then I had to come back, but it was fun for me while it lasted.”
The California native and Artesia High School graduate, attended the same school with two former members of the ASU Men’s basketball team, Derek Glasser and James Harden, who greatly influenced Lewis to choose ASU.
“Most definitely it was,” Lewis noted. “That’s the reason I came here and just the atmosphere of this town, I just liked it. My recruiting trip went well and I liked the coaches and everything that was basically why I chose ASU. They just told me to come here and I didn’t ask any questions, I just said, “Alright, I’m coming with you guys.”
This weekend the Sun Devils will face another challenging Pac-10 opponent in Los Angeles. The USC Trojans are coming off a 53-32 loss to no.1 Oregon and will undoubtedly be searching to bounce back from that defeat.
“We’re just going to go out there and play our game,” Lewis said. “We’ve been practicing really well and we know their offense so we feel comfortable and we’re confident that we’re going to go in there and get a win.
“Basically they have athletes and we have athletes so we’re going to match up with them and just shut down their passing game. You don’t give up any rushing yards so when they can’t pass, pretty much their offense is one-dimensional. So when we shut down the pass, they go to the run and we stop that, then they have nothing.”
With four games left in the regular season, Lewis’ time in the maroon and gold is quickly coming to an end and the senior cornerback is eager to go out on a positive note in hopes of continuing his football career.
“I actually have to go out with a bang,” Lewis said. “I want to continue to play so it’s important. I would like to play at the next level.”
The Sun Devils need to prevail in three of their four remaining matchups in order to reach their goal of bowl eligibility. Currently at 4-4 and with very little margin of error, a win this Saturday against the Trojans is crucial for the Sun Devils’ chances at post-season play.
“I believe this is the game,” Lewis stated. “It kind of sets the tone of where we’re at in the Pac-10 and it sends a message out to everyone else. They have doubts about our team but our team believes in each other and that’s all that really matters. So when we win this game it’s going to set a huge statement.”