If you didn't believe Arizona State is an entirely different beast at home before, you surely do now. The Sun Devils smothered the visiting No. 20 Washington Huskies Saturday with a season-high seven sacks en route to their 53-24 victory.
To say the Arizona State defense showed flashes of its 2012 form would be an understatement. On Saturday, the unit put on a performance that very well could go down as the most dominant in the Todd Graham era.
The Sun Devils made a much-improved Huskies offensive line look like a wet paper towel for the first 30 minutes. They eventually settled in once the second half rolled around but that didn't stop Keith Price's happy feet from dancing. The Husky quarterback wasn't allowed an ounce of breathing room all game and finished his day 16-for-39 for 217 yards and two touchdowns before heading to the locker room with an undisclosed injury (possibly thumb) early in the fourth.
But that's hardly the most impressive statistic. Entering the game as the nation's leading rusher at 149.8 yards per game, the Devils defense bottled Bishop Sankey to a pedestrian 22 yards on 13 carries. Please raise your hand if you had a grand total of four Sun Devils out-rushing the finest ball carrier in all the land (Marion Grice, Taylor Kelly, Deantre Lewis and D.J. Foster). As a team, Washington had 25 carries for -5 yards, tied for the second least amount of rushing yards allowed by ASU over the past 18 years.
Seven different players registered a sack for Arizona State and five registered at least two tackles for loss (12 total). Salamo Fiso finished with a game-high two sacks and Will Sutton lead the way with three tackles for loss but Carl Bradford (one sack, one TFL) was the real story. It was Bradford's ferocity that paved the way for the Sun Devils each time the pocket collapsed. While QB hurries isn't a stat recorded on the collegiate level, it's probably safe to estimate Bradford approached double digits on the day.
And let's not forget about an ASU offense that out-gained Washington 585-212. With Kelly masterfully picking his spots and Grice bulldozing his way through Huskies on every tote, Kelly set a new career-high in rushing yards (84) and Grice finished one yard high of matching his (158). The duo also chipped in two rushing scores each.
Through the air, Kelly connected with Chris Coyle and Grice for two more touchdowns. Grice's athletic grab very well could go down as the most spectacular score of his Arizona State career and his trio of touchdowns moved him to 18 total on the season (one shy of his 2012 production).
Most surprisingly, all this damage came with a hobbled Jaelen Strong. Battling through an ankle injury, Strong saw his streak of five consecutive 100-yard games snapped, finishing with three catches for seven yards. Kevin Ozier stepped up in his place, racking up a game-high 88 yards on eight catches as the Huskies defense continually gave him a generous amount of room.
Us House of Sparky staffers will be the first to eat crow on this one. We, like a good portion of Sun Devil nation, didn't believe Arizona State could hang with the Huskies. So it's safe to say this type of spanking verges on mind-blowing.
Todd Graham can officially scratch "getting a big-time conference win" off his ASU to-do list. And he even earned a few style points to boot.
Arizona State will be off next week before heading up to Washington to take on the Cougars two Thursday from now. And if they can bottle the momentum from tonight's game, they shouldn't have too much of a problem extending their winning streak to three.
Anyone else stunned? Tell us your reactions below and don't be shy with the praise.