Pac-12 Championship Game Live: Notes from Sun Devil Stadium
Arizona Sports 620’s Vince Marotta will be live blogging the Pac-12 Championship Game from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
End of game – R.J. Robinson rushes up the middle for a yard. The clock ticks to 0:00 as he gets up and both sidelines converge at midfield. Stanford is the Pac-12 champion for the second year in a row.
2:56 left in 4th quarter – Freshman Matt Haack gives Arizona State one of their most competent punts of the night on 4th and 21, sending one 49 yards to the Stanford 37 yard line.
4:35 left in 4th quarter – With a 24-point lead and just out of field goal range, Stanford attempts a 4th down conversion but fails to get five yards from Wilkerson. Turnover on downs. ASU now to try for consolation points.
7:01 left in 4th quarter – Kelly overthrows Foster on 4th and 3. Turnover on downs. Foster had to come on for another injured ASU tailback, with Lewis limping off the field this time.
9:57 left in 4th quarter – Kelly sacked on 4th down. Turnover on downs. Fifth sack of the game for the Cardinal. Kelly has not played well tonight, but hasn’t had much help from the guys up front, either.
12:11 left in 4th quarter – Hogan to Montgomery for the 24-yard touchdown. Again, Jones in coverage. Again, I have no explanation for it.
Stanford 38….Arizona State 14.
Looks like the maroon and gold faithful can head home and beat the traffic. And it looks like the Holiday Bowl for the Sun Devils.
12:40 left in 4th quarter – Hogan completes a 78-yard bomb to Cajuste, who makes another fingertip catch. Cajuste beat Anthony Jones, a linebacker, on the play. Why is a linebacker on a deep-threat receiver? Yeah good question. That’s the straw the broke the camel’s, or the devil’s, back.
:09 left in 3rd quarter – ASU drives to the Stanford 1-yard line and Nelson stopped on 4th down. On third down, Michael Eubank came in at QB, telegraphing a QB sneak. Stanford knew it was coming, and stopped it.
6:12 left in 3rd quarter – goes on an impressive 67-yard drive and Williamson boots a 30-yard field goal to stretch their lead to 31-14.
Inexplicably, Stanford went to a Wildcat formation with Gaffney on a 1st down at the ASU 12-yard line. The Devils stiffened on the next two plays to force the field goal attempt.
Had Stanford scored a touchdown there, this game likely would have been over. It still may be, but down 17 with 21 minutes to go, there is still a glimmer of hope.
11:52 left in 3rd quarter – ASU puts together their first sustained drive of the game and Gonzalez misses a 31-yarder, pushing it right. That breaks Gonzalez’s streak of 18 straight makes.
ASU went 61 yards on 10 plays and gets nothing to show for it.
The drive stalled on a 2nd down play where Jaelen Strong dropped a slant pass from Kelly.
Disheartening start to the 2nd half for ASU.
But, Doug Franz just reported that D.J. Foster will return on the Devils’ next possession.
14:52 left in third quarter – D.J. Foster catches a nine-yard pass and gets injured. Looks like a right knee injury as he is walking gingerly across the field. No Foster, no chance for the Sun Devils.
Halftime – Stanford drove, but let a lot of time run off the clock before calling a timeout with :11 left in the quarter.
Hogan makes it interesting with a 41-yard scramble as time expires.
Stanford leads 28-14 at the half.
3:52 left in 2nd quarter – D.J. Foster isn’t human. He catches a bubble screen that was thrown behind him, broke a tackle, and took it down the sideline 65 yards for a score on the first play of the drive.
Foster’s two scoring plays have covered 116 yards…the other 25 plays have covered 58 yards.
4:06 left in 2nd quarter – Stanford goes three and out. Will Sutton sacked Hogan on first down.
Rhyne kicks 37 yards to Nelson, who was tackled by, no kidding here, nine Stanford players.
5:50 left in 2nd quarter– Guess what? ASU goes three and out, as De’Marieya Nelson sprouts alligator arms on a third down pass from Kelly.
Guess what else? Garoutte shanks another rugby “punt”. Hard to believe Todd Graham said Garoutte might be his MVP this season. Garoutte’s punt goes 25 yards. Stanford takes over at their own 29-yard line.
6:49 left in 2nd quarter Rhyne punts, Robert Nelson slips on the punt return with room to run. ASU’s special teams killing them once again.
Sun Devils take over 1st and 10 at their own 42-yard line.
9:10 left in 2nd quarter – Three and out for ASU. They kept the ball for :52.
What’s going on in the Big Ten Championship Game?
9:49 left in 2nd quarter – Gaffney scores from one yard out — his third touchdown of the day.
It’s pretty clear Stanford is by far the superior team. In two first halves against ASU this year, they’ve outscored the Sun Devils 57-7 — and there are almost ten minutes left in this one.
10:14 left in 2nd quarter – ASU shows a little backbone defensively for the first time on the night, stopping Gaffney on 2nd and 3rd down. Carl Bradford coming off after being shaken up. Stanford will go for it on 4th down from the one.
12:11 left in 2nd quarter – Now Wilkerson is running wild, a 29-yard run to inside the ASU 10-yard line.
13:03 left in 2nd quarter – ASU goes three and out. Uh-oh!
Then Alex Garoutte shanks a punt and everyone is having flashbacks to the first half in Palo Alto. Garoutte’s punt, 16 yards. It’s getting ugly in Tempe.
14:51 left in 2nd quarter– I told the people next to me in the press box, that as good as Stanford’s offense was in the first quarter, Montgomery didn’t get a touch. Well, he did on a jet sweep on the first play of the 2nd, and took it 22 yards to the house.
Stanford goes 89 yards in five plays, and makes it look easy. Todd Graham’s defense is getting its head handed to it on a platter so far by Stanford’s offense.
End of the first quarter – Stanford is just chewing through ASU’s defense like its not even there. The short field wasn’t a problem, as Hogan found Devon Cajuste on a 42-yard gain.
The Cardinal are averaging 13.8 yards per play — 193 total yards of offense in the first quarter.
ASU’s defense is failing to pressure Hogan, who has made two outstanding throws on long balls to Pratt and Cajuste, who have made great catches.
The Sun Devils can’t wait to make adjustments at halftime, they may be too far out of it by then if the 2nd quarter mirrors the first.
Cardinal, 1st and 10 at the ASU 22 to start the quarter.
2:32 left in first quarter – On a 3rd and 4 at the Stanford 40, Kelly drops to pass and gets taken down by the turf monster for a 7-yard loss. ASU punts…36 yards by Garoutte. Fair catch Stanford at their own 11-yard line.
The Sun Devils must show the ability to stop the Cardinal on this drive.
3:40 left in first quarter – ASU, facing a fourth down on their own 49-yard line, opts to go for it. Taylor Kelly tried to find Jaelen Strong on a slant, but the WR was interfered with. First down, ASU.
7:30 left in first quarter – Stanford answers, this time with an impressive drive, capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Gaffney. The Cardinal got a 35-yard pass from Kevin Hogan to Jordan Pratt — just his 10th catch of the year. Then on a 3rd and 8, Hogan faked a hand-off to Anthony Wilkerson and ran it up the middle for 15 yards and a first down.
Williamson’s extra point is good. Stanford goes 60 yards on eight plays — and yes, the short field created by Montgomery’s return was a factor.
The 14 points scored by Stanford in the first quarter are the most given up by ASU in the first this year.
11:45 left in first quarter – This time Garoutte kicks it long and Ty Montgomery returns it 39 yards to the Stanford 40. He hurt ASU on returns in their September game, plus ASU has struggled in kick coverage as of late. Could be a big factor.
11:54 – ASU answers! After the Devils convert a third down on a back shoulder throw to Jaelen Strong, D.J. Foster uncorks a 51-yard touchdown run right up the middle.
Zane Gonzalez adds the extra point. And we’re tied…settle in for a good one. ASU goes 74 yards on five plays in 1:32.
13:41 left in first quarter – After a loss of two and and a false start, Stanford shows no panic on 2nd and 17 and runs the ball with Tyler Gaffney, who rumbles 69 yards for a touchdown. Play is under review to see if it will stand.
It will — touchdown, Stanford. 7-0 Cardinal just 1:19 into the game. Not the start Arizona State was looking for.
Jordan Williamson adds the extra point. Gaffney’s run was the longest run by a Stanford running back this year. Stanford goes 62 yards on two plays on the scoring drive.
14:59 left in first quarter – Alex Garoutte pooches the opening kickoff…Stanford takes over at 38-yard line.
Prior to kickoff – Stanford wins the toss and elects to receive.
By the way, the Pac-12 didn’t take over all aspects of this game. Same old hot dogs and “bratwursts” as the media meal.
9:50 before kickoff — ASU doesn’t come out with their normal pyrotechnic show. Instead, due to the Pac-12 mandate of neutralizing the field and atmosphere, they run through what looks like giant sparklers.
Stanford follows and the crowd starts their first “A-S-U” chant of the evening.