The 5: Arizona State’s most wild offensive shootouts

Sep 23, 2016, 7:20 AM | Updated: 11:23 am

Arizona State running back Demario Richard, center, runs against California during the first half o...

Arizona State running back Demario Richard, center, runs against California during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Two games removed from a combined point-total of 123 in a 68-55 win against Texas Tech, Arizona State has once again proved their penchant for piling up points. Unfortunately, they’ve also allowed opponents to do the same.

Let’s not complain too much about offensive shootouts. They’re fun.

And we expect that ASU’s Saturday battle against the California Golden Bears in Tempe could take the same form. Las Vegas agrees with an over/under set at 82.5 points.

Last season, the two teams compiled 1,266 total yards before Cal came away with a 48-46 win.

That brings us to this week’s edition of The 5. The Sun Devils have been in several mind-boggling shootouts since they joined the Pac-10 in 1978.  Sometimes, those games have been filed into the record books. Other times, they’ve led to serious consequences.

123 — vs. Texas Tech (2016)

Kalen Ballage (AP)

Two yards short (1,264) of last year’s Cal game, the Week 2, 68-55 victory against Texas Tech is atop our list.

Arizona State coach Chip Lindsey countered Red Raiders star QB Patrick Mahomes’ 540 passing yards with an aggressive rushing attack: 53 carries split between his two running backs and quarterback that averaged out to 5.7 yards per tote.

The “sparky-formation” set also did its damage near the goal line and beyond as Kalen Ballage scored seven rushing touchdowns and caught another to tie the NCAA record with eight for a game.


116 — vs. Oregon (2015)**

Oregon's Bralon Addison (2) celebrates his touchdown during the third overtime of an NCAA college football game as Arizona State's Jordan Simone (38) looks away Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. Oregon defeated Arizona State 61-55. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Bralon Addison (AP)

So what if it took three overtimes? A 61-55 thriller in Tempe, Ariz., was a fun one that unfortunately for ASU went against Todd Graham’s crew.

The numbers: 398 passing yards from ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici, a 344-184 advantage in the ground game yardage — the 742 total yards were one short of ASU’s conference high set against Stanford in 1981 — and one controversial-as-heck play.

Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. found receiver Bralon Addison in the very back of the end zone — reviews didn’t overturn a ruled touchdown, and the Ducks quacked away with a win.


107 — vs. Houston (1990)


Dave Klingler (AP)

The Sun Devils had wished it was a mirage.

ASU met with Houston in the 1990 Coca-Cola Classic only to fall 62-45 against Cougars quarterback David Klingler, who threw for 716 yards in that outing. That record, set in a game in Tokyo, would stand until Washington State’s Connor Halliday broke it in 2014 by throwing for 734 yards in a loss to Cal. It wasn’t exactly an indictment on ASU’s defense.

Klingler still holds the FBS record by averaging 474.6 yards per game that season, which included a game in which he threw 11 touchdown passes — also a record.

103 — vs. USC (2013)


Lane Kiffin and Todd Graham (AP)

Call him Kalen Ballage light.

ASU running back Marion Grice scored four touchdowns — two on the ground and two in the air — as ASU won 62-41.

The Sun Devils led 20-14 at half before scoring four straight touchdowns in the third quarter and two more in the fourth. The mighty Trojans rallied with 20 points in the fourth and still fell three touchdowns short.

Oh, and USC coach Lane Kiffin was fired on the LAX tarmac early the next day. Seems he’s gotten over that 3:14 a.m. event, however.

98 — vs. Stanford (1981)

John Elway (AP)

John Elway (AP)

At the time, no Pac-10 contest had seen two teams combine for 1,092 passing yards, which dropped the NCAA record at the time. A chunk of that was ASU quarterback Mike Pagel’s doing.

He went 26-of-34 for 466 yards and seven touchdowns in the 62-36 Sun Devil rout that included future Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway going down with a sprained index finger and concussion. Pagel, a Douglas, Ariz., native, went on to play 12 years in the NFL for the Colts, Browns and Rams. Elway had a pretty solid career himself.

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The 5: Arizona State’s most wild offensive shootouts