ASU vs. Missouri: Tigers Dominating But Only Lead Sun Devils 17-7 at Half

Sept 1, 2012; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers linebacker Kendial Lawrence (4) runs the ball into the end zone to score a touchdown during the first quarter at Faurot Field against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions. Mandatory Credit: Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE

Heading into their showdown in SEC country against Missouri, Arizona State appeared to catch a big break when Tigers' starting quarterback James Franklin was ruled out of the game.

However, it appeared ASU's explosive offense from the first two weeks also was absent, and in it's place were rattled nerves, mistakes, and missed opportunities.

After Missouri kicked a field goal on the game's opening drive, the Sun Devil defense forced a punt on the next possession. Jamal Miles then fumbled the ball, and the Tigers recovered it at the ASU 18, and a few plays later, Berkstresser ran through a Will Sutton tackle en route to a six-yard touchdown run.

The Sun Devil offense was paltry in the first quarter. Kelly was just one of six for six yards, but his receivers dropped three passes. The offensive line was overmatched and Cameron Marshall lost one yards on his two carries, and Richard Smith lost three on his one attempt. Kelly also threw an interception on a slant pass to compound the team's early woes.

ASU's defense was holding the team in it, attacking relentlessly. Sutton rebounded to end Missouri's first drive of the second quarter with a key sack. The Sun Devil punt team later allowed a big return to the ASU 35, but Brandon Magee intercepted a pass at the three-yard line to end that threat.

However, the offense predictably fell short again, and on the ensuing punt, the Tigers ran a reverse on the return, and E.J. Gaines had a good return until tackled by punter Josh Hubner at the ASU 18. Four plays later, Kendial Lawrence ran it in from seven yards to put Missouri up 17-0.

Finally, the Sun Devil offense showed signs of life. Utilizing quick screens to DJ Foster and Kevin Ozier, ASU drove down the field. Kelly then hit Foster with a screen, and helped by a great block by Rashad Ross, Foster sprinted 33 yards into the end zone for the score to cut the lead to 17-7.

ASU will get the ball to open the second half, and a productive drive their will get the Sun Devils right back into the game.

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