TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage addressed the media for the first time since his postgame rant on Facebook against fans for leaving Sun Devil Stadium early in USC’s 42-14 win on Saturday.
Ballage’s post has since been deleted, but here is a screen shot via Brad Denny of 3TV.
Ballage said he has received positive feedback regarding the post, although some comments on Twitter were far from positive.
“When you play this game you have so many emotions and I think you should or I don’t think you should play this game,” Ballage said. “You play with 10 other guys on the field and there’s a lot of different emotions. There’s ups and downs. Football is a roller coaster ride for 60 minutes.
“I love our Sun Devil fans and sometimes when we’re getting beat like that it’s hard for them to stay around, but we’re all a team and I think that they’re a part of this team.”
Ballage played his first game of the season against the Trojans this past Saturday after missing the first three due to a bout of mononucleosis that sidelined him the day before the season-opener against Texas A&M in Houston. He carried the ball nine times for 30 yards and caught one pass for a loss of four yards against USC.
“It feels great just having the opportunity to be back out there with my teammates,” he said.
Sun Devils coach Todd Graham didn’t address Ballage’s rant specifically, but he did address the disappointment fans feel about the team’s 2-2 record after a preseason No. 15 ranking.
“I expect our fans to be disappointed,” Graham said. “I was disappointed last year when we lost 62-27 in fourth game of the season (against UCLA).
“We’ve driven expectations up for a reason. That’s why we’ve been able to accomplish what we’ve accomplished. Those standards are hard.”
As for the bitterness fans feel, Graham said there’s an easy solution.
“All we have to do is win and they’ll be positive and pull together as much as you want them to.”