ASU earned this laugher. The Sun Devils deserved one after their recent four-game stretch of Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame — giving them nation’s seventh-toughest schedule.
The Sun Devils scored early and often, beating Colorado 54-13 in front of 50,104 at Sun Devil Stadium Saturday.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly led scoring drives on eight of the team’s nine first-half possessions, including the first five times the offense had the football.
The first score set the tone with Kelly hooking up with receiver Jaelen Strong on a 69-yard catch and run less than two minutes into the game It was one of two touchdowns thrown by Kelly. The other, a one-yard play-action pass to defensive lineman Davon Coleman who had lined up as a fullback.
Kelly, in just two quarters of action, completed 9-of-19 throws for 233 yards. It was the first time this season he did not pass for at least 300 yards.
Strong recorded his fifth straight 100-yard receiving game, finishing with 109 yards on three catches.
Defensively, the Sun Devils forced four turnovers, including interceptions by Lloyd Carrington, Robert Nelson and Damarius Randall.
ASU recorded its first safety since another team safety vs. Oregon State last year on Nov. 3.
ASU rushed for a season-high 276 yards, including 71 yards in the first quarter, which was six more yards than it had gained the week prior against Notre Dame.
Freshman Zane Gonzalez kicked field goals of 20, 27 and 41 yards, the later a career-long. He has now made seven straight field goals since missing from 45 yards at Stanford.
Nitpicking here, but…
ASU was called for two penalties in the first half, including a personal foul on senior defensive lineman Will Sutton for a late hit on Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau midway through the first quarter.
WHEN IT WAS OVER
Early. ASU scored on all four of its first quarter possessions, scoring 25 points — one more than it had scored in the first quarter of the previous five games combined. It was the most first-quarter points scored by the Sun Devils since 2002 (28 vs. Stanford on Sept. 28). Defensively, this marked the fourth time in six games ASU shut out its opponent in the first quarter this season.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Marion Grice and Chris Young.
Grice scored twice and rushed for season-high 88 yards. His two touchdowns give him 15 on the season. Young, meanwhile, recorded all seven of his team-high tying seven tackles, including two for a loss and a sack in the first quarter.
ASU improved to 5-0 all-time against Colorado.
ASU improved to 4-0 at home this year and 8-2 under head coach Todd Graham.
Sophomore defensive tackle Jaxon Hood returned after sitting out the past two games due to a leg injury suffered against USC. He entered the game on Colorado’s fourth offensive series.
Play-by-play voice Tim Healey did not work — missing only his second game since 1998, because of a spell of temporary amnesia suffered earlier in the week. He will be back behind the mic in two weeks when ASU visits Washington State.
HE SAID IT
“We attacked this game like it was any other team.” – Defensive lineman Davon Coleman.
“I was really proud of our guys. Feel good about the maturity of our team. We dominated in all three phases.” – Sun Devil head coach Todd Graham
ASU (4-2, 2-1) plays its second straight home game, hosting Washington (4-2, 1-2) next Saturday. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 3 p.m. and be televised on the Pac-12 Network; and of course the Sun Devils’ flagship station Arizona Sports 620 with pregame coverage starting at 1 p.m.