Fork Report: Kelly injury dampens ASU’s win, best start since 2007

Sep 14, 2014, 6:31 AM | Updated: 6:31 am
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The game, a win, took a backseat to the news, an injury to Taylor Kelly.

The Arizona State Sun Devils starting quarterback suffered a right foot injury late in the third quarter of his team’s 38-24 victory at Colorado.

After exiting to the locker room, Kelly returned on crutches with his foot in a boot to watch back-up Mike Bercovici carry No. 16 ASU the rest of the way and to its best start in seven years, 3-0.

Kelly passed for 195 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a score, a 50-yard run, the longest touchdown run of his career, which provided the final points for the Sun Devils’ eighth straight regular season conference win.

D.J. Foster opened the Sun Devil scoring with a 15-yard run, part of a 148-yard rushing performance.

Behind Kelly and Foster, ASU jumped in front 17-0.

Colorado answered with a pair of touchdowns to pull to within three, but Kelly answered with two of his own touchdown throws, one to Foster to make it 24-14 at halftime and one to Jaelen Strong on the first drive of the third quarter to increase the lead to 31-14.
ASU remained undefeated all-time against Colorado, improving to 6-0.

THE GOOD:

Redshirt junior Jordan Simone, a walk-on who earned a scholarship this year, had himself quite a game with a career-high 12 tackles. He also forced a pair of first half turnovers. First, he picked off Sefo Liufau for his first career interception and the first of the season for the Sun Devils defense. Then in the second quarter, he forced a fumble, the first of his career.

Redshirt junior Antonio Longino, who got his first career start lining up at Devilbacker, set a career high for tackles in a game with six in the first half, topping his previous best, five, set last week at New Mexico. He became the 12th different Sun Devil to earn their first career start this season.

Foster’s 109 first half rushing yards marked the fifth time in his last six games in which he surpassed 100 yards on the ground. He has also now scored in eight consecutive games with a rushing touchdown in seven of those eight contests.

Matt Haack’s 57-yard punt in the second quarter matched the longest of his career. He averaged 48.1 yards on seven punts.

THE BAD:

Just days after he was named a season captain, redshirt sophomore linebacker Laiu Moeakiola appeared to have injured his right arm or shoulder in the second quarter. After spending the remainder of the half in the locker room, he returned to the sideline at the start of the third quarter with his arm in a sling.

For the second straight game following the first score, the Sun Devils lined up to go for two; however, unlike last week at New Mexico, where ASU was successful, the play — a direct snap to De’Marieya Nelson who ran it into the end zone — was called back due to a penalty for an illegal snap.

After outgaining Colorado by 200 yards (222-22) in the first quarter, the Sun Devils managed only 20 yards of total offense in the second quarter and were outgained 545-427 by game’s end.

The five penalties in the first half were one than the Sun Devils committed last week at New Mexico. They finished with a season-high eight.

STAT OF THE GAME:

14: The number of points, and the difference in the game, the Sun Devils scored off three Colorado turnovers; and for the season, ASU has outscored the opposition 35-7 on points off turnovers

HE SAID IT:

“He made two of the most spectacular plays (of the game),” head coach Todd Graham said of Simone. “He’s played phenomenal.”

NOTED

• The Sun Devils are outscoring opponents 53-7 in the opening quarter.

• The Sun Devils handed Colorado its 15th straight loss to a ranked opponent.

• The Sun Devils last opened a season 3-0 in 2007, Dennis Erickson’s first year as head coach.

• The Sun Devils’ first scoring drive of the game also happened to be their longest, in terms of time elapsed, of the season, taking 3:07 off the clock.

• Kelly’s 50-yard run plus Foster’s 52-yard run were the Sun Devils sixth and seventh 40+ yard rushest this season, two more than they had all of last season.

• Kelly’s nine-yard pass to Nelson on the opening drive was the first completion to a tight end this season. Nelson and fellow tight end Kody Kohl each recorded their first receptions.

UP NEXT:

After two straight road games, the Sun Devils return home for the first time since the season opener against Weber State.

ASU hosts UCLA (3-0, 1-0) on Thursday, September 25. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning two hours earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Last season, the Sun Devils beat UCLA, 38-33, to clinch the South division.

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Fork Report: Kelly injury dampens ASU’s win, best start since 2007