Note to Steve Patterson: if the Sun Devils are ever in a need of a pick-me-up, make sure to have Colorado on speed dial. One week after the most frustrating game of the season, Arizona State exercised their Notre Dame demons against an over-matched Buffaloes squad to the tune of 54-13.
And all it took was one half of high octane.
The Sun Devils owned a 47-6 lead after the first 30 minutes of play thanks to an offense that out-gained Colorado 392-85. Arizona State ultimately ended up with a 532-268 edge in the total yardage department but the most of the Buffaloes' damage came against ASU's second-stringers.
Although the Arizona State's large crooked number would suggest otherwise, Taylor Kelly actually had his worst statistical game of the season. For the first time in 2013, Kelly failed to break the 300-yard barrier, going 9-for-19 for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Kelly also chipped in 38 yards on five carries including a 17-yard touchdown with 16 seconds remaining in the first half.
Along with catching one of Kelly's touchdowns, Jaelen Strong registered his fifth consecutive 100 yard game with three catches for 109 yards. On the fifth play of the game, Strong took a quick slant 69 yards to the house. And from there, the rout was on.
Arizona State scored 25 points in the first quarter alone, their highest total in frame No. 1 since 2002 against Stanford.
Marion Grice took advantage of a soft Colorado defense by having his most efficient game of the season (13 carries for 88 yards). The yardage total was his highest of 2013 and Grice also chipped in two more touchdowns, giving him 34 through 19 games at ASU (sixth most in program history). Grice has 15 total touchdowns in 2013 which is 13 short of the Pac-12 record set by Toby Gerhart in 2009.
Now, you get five guesses to predict who was on the receiving end of Kelly's second touchdown. If you said Davon Coleman, a check for $10,000 is in the mail. Operating as a fullback in Arizona State's jumbo package, Coleman proved defensive lineman actually have hands with a one-yard TD grab early in the second.
But that wasn't the only points that Coleman contributed on. He also brought the heat on Sefo Liufau's intentional grounding safety.
And outside of some questionable tackling techniques by the secondary, the Arizona State defense played exceptionally. Rocking his new No. 5 jersey, Chris Young lead the way with seven tackles (two for loss) and one sack. Carl Bradford and Coleman also combined for more tackles for loss and two sacks.
Arizona State won the turnover battle 4-0 with Lloyd Carrington, Robert Nelson and Damarious Randall each snagging an interception and Bradford forcing a fumble as well. Although Colorado's offense looked allergic to the end zone, it was clear that Jaxon Hood's return made a huge difference.
ASU was just as aggressive blitzing as they were against Notre Dame but with another big body in the middle, the Devils were finally able to break through. Connor Wood folded under the pressure and was eventually benched for the true freshmen Liufau. But neither quarterback had any success finding Paul Richardson.
Arizona State's defense effectively schemed against Colorado's best player, leaving Richardson without a catch in the first half. Richardson ultimately finished with four catches for 39 yards but considering he entered the night second in the nation in receiving yards per game, this should be considered a massive success for ASU's secondary.
Looking ahead, Arizona State (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) will be faced with their most challenging home game of the season next week when Washington rolls into town. The Huskies (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) are coming off back-to-back losses to Stanford and Oregon so they'll be looking to take out their frustrations on ASU much like the Devils did against Colorado.
So, what's the consensus ASU fans? Anybody feeling better yet or is this just a case of false bravado?