TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University students fired up for Thursday's football game against third-ranked Oregon learned that hours before the big game, the Ducks pulled off a stealth attack and painted the A on Tempe's A Mountain green.
"It's like a knife in my heart," said 3TV traffic reporter and enthusiastic ASU alum Gina Maravilla.
"It was definitely shocking," one student fan said. "It was disturbing. All of us that were here earlier said, 'No.'"
Within hours, some loyal young Sun Devils had hustled up the butte and repainted the A black in keeping with the blackout theme the Sun Devils were pushing.
"Oregon decided to paint it green, and we weren't really going to put up with that," one black-handed fan said.
"We took care of business," another painter said. "And the football team will take care of business tonight."
"It looks better black," said 3TV's Javier Soto, who was with camped-out ASU students when they found out about the green paint job. "You would have a thought a riot was going to happen. ... [The students] were upset."
Thursday's match-up is the biggest test of the season so far for the ASU Sun Devils. ASU is 5-1 overall and 3-0 in PAC 12 play.
"We are not to be overlooked," said one fervent fan.
"It's duck-hunting season," said another.
Oregon is 6-0, 3-0 in the PAC 12.
Thursday's game is one of the most anticipated of the season, and dozens of students camped out overnight to make sure they got the best possible tickets. It's expected that Sun Devil Stadium, with its 71,706-seat capacity, will be sold out.
ASU fans, the "12th man on the field," are being encouraged to wear black shirts to "create an intimidating blackout effect."
Not just one of the more important games this season, Thursday's face-off against Oregon is one of the biggest games in ASU's history.
While Oregon is favored to come out on top, a win over the Ducks would catapult the Sun Devils into the national spotlight.
Kickoff at Sun Devil Stadium is at 6 p.m.
Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that ASU is 3-0 in PAC 12 play and Oregon is ranked No. 3.