Fork Report: Sun Devils fall flat in Holiday Bowl loss to Texas Tech
SAN DIEGO — To start our exercise, let’s rewind the clock 23 days.
It was a time when Todd Graham’s Arizona State Sun Devils were not only prepping for the Pac-12 Championship Game against Stanford — they were favored to win it.
A little more than three weeks later, that enthusiasm is now a distant memory. The Sun Devils got smacked around by the Cardinal, a result that landed them in the Holiday Bowl against Texas Tech — a team that limped into the game having lost their last five games.
Résumés didn’t matter once the ball was kicked off Monday night.
Texas Tech dominated Arizona State from the outset, winning 37-23 in front of 52,930 fans at Qualcomm Stadium.
Freshman quarterback Davis Webb completed 28-of-41 passes for 403 yards and four touchdowns while the Red Raiders defense kept ASU off balance all night long.
With the loss, ASU ends the season at 10-4 while Texas Tech wraps up their campaign at 8-5.
WHEN IT WAS OVER: After ASU scored on the first possession of the second half on a 44-yard touchdown run by Taylor Kelly to pull the Devils within seven points, Texas Tech’s Reginald Davis took the ensuing kickoff back 90 yards for a touchdown. The return took all the wind out of ASU’s sails, as they managed just a field goal the rest of the way.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Red Raiders, at one point, were 8-of-9 on third-down conversions. They finished the game 9-of-16 in that category and the average distance needed on their third down conversions was 7.8.
Texas Tech had 178 yards passing on third-down opportunities.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME: Texas Tech’s offensive line. Le’Raven Clark, Alfredo Morales, Jared Kaster, Beau Carpenter and Rashad Fortenberry didn’t allow a sack all night — in fact ASU was credited with exactly zero quarterback hits. The Red Raiders equipment guys won’t have any grass stains to scrub out of Webb’s uniform after this one.
HE SAID IT: “As coaches, we didn’t have our team prepared to play. We didn’t see anything we didn’t practice. We just didn’t come prepared to play, and that’s our job as coaches.” — ASU head coach Todd Graham.
• ASU freshman placekicker Zane Gonzalez kicked three field goals, giving him 25 for the season, which ties an NCAA record for freshmen. Gonzalez also set ASU’s single-season scoring record with 138 points, surpassing the legendary Whizzer White, who had 136 in 1950.
• The 403 passing yards ASU yielded were a season-high and the first time the Sun Devils have allowed a 400-yard passer since Hawaii’s Colt Brennan threw for 559 in the 2006 Hawaii Bowl.
• Taylor Kelly ran for a career-high 135 yards in the loss. Foster had 132 yards, marking the first time ASU has had two 100-yard rushers in the same game since J.R. Redmond and Delvon Flowers did it in 2001.
• ASU is now 0-4 all-time in the Holiday Bowl and 0-3 against teams from the Big 12. They lost to Arkansas 18-17 in 1985, 34-27 to Kansas State in 2002 and 52-34 to Texas in 2007
WHAT’S NEXT: Recuperation, recruiting and spring ball.