TEMPE — They made it look easy.
Todd Graham and the ASU Sun Devils opened their 2013 season with a 55-0 victory over FCS opponent Sacramento State.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly directed touchdown-scoring drives on the Sun Devils’ first five, and six of their eight first-half possessions, taking a 42-0 lead into the locker room. Kelly threw five touchdowns to five different receivers before calling it a night, completing 23-of-31 for 300 yards.
Defensively, ASU forced four turnovers while holding Sacramento State to 167 yards, 59 of which came on the opening drive of the game.
It was the Sun Devils’ 11th straight season-opening win and fourth straight victory overall, dating back to last season.
The Sun Devils pitched their first shutout since October 30, 2010, a 42-0 home win against Washington State.
The Sun Devils were penalty-free in the first half, and flagged only once (delay of game) the entire night.
We’re nitpicking, but the ASU defense allowed Sacramento State to convert four third downs on the opening drive of the contest. Of course, the defense would not allow another third down conversion the rest of the game.
WHEN IT WAS OVER
It was over early. The game turned on redshirt senior Robert Nelson’s blocked field goal, stopping Sacramento State’s 16-play opening drive. The Sun Devil offense then went on its own lengthy drive — 80 yards on 11 plays — capped by Kelly’s 15-yard touchdown pass to De’Marieya Nelson. The rout was on.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Taylor Kelly. The Sun Devil quarterback tied his career-high with five touchdown passes (all in the first half). At one point, he completed 11 straight throws.
-Senior linebacker Chris Young left the game midway through the second quarter and did not return. Graham said Young suffered a sprained knee. It is not expected to be serious.
-ASU set a new record for student ticket sales for a single game: 13,472 student seats sold. It marked the first time over 13,000, besting the previous record of 12,555 for the UA game on November 19, 2011.
HE SAID IT
“The atmosphere was crazy,” receiver Jaelen Strong said after catching a team-high six passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. “It was a real good game for me and my teammates.”
“I’m proud of our team,” Graham said. “You come out and dominate a team you’re supposed to dominate.”
ASU (1-0) hosts Big Ten champion Wisconsin on Saturday, September 14. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 7:30 p.m. MST on ESPN/ESPN2; and of course on the Sun Devils flagship station Arizona Sports 620 KTAR with pregame coverage starting at 5:30 p.m. MST.