Todd Graham has put together some impressive wins during his brief tenure at Arizona State but Saturday's 53-24 win over Washington may headline them all.
ASU was favored by three points entirely due to their home field advantage. Vegas could have added 25 more points to the spread and the Sun Devils still would have covered. The one-sided affair spring-boards the Maroon and Gold to 5-2 heading into their final bye of the season.
The Sun Devils accumulated 585 yards and even left points on the board by settling for field goals. Keith Price's offense got stymied all night long, tallying a mere 217 yards including -5 in the rushing yards department.
There are plenty of kudos to go around, but only three Sun Devil players made the final cut.
Despite leading the nation with 18 touchdowns, Marion Grice's yards were holding him back in the Doak Walker award talks. Problem solved. Grice received the rock 21 times on the ground and turned those touches into 158 yards and two touchdowns.
Offensive coordinator Mike Norvell knows the unit needed more balance, therefore he decided to dial up 51 runs to allow Grice and company to find their groove. Grice rewarded him with 158 yards, shedding off defenders like flies.
Grice also hauled in four receptions, 37 yards and one receiving touchdown. The touchdown catch will be among the top plays of the night in college football. Grice leaked out of the backfield and got the six points with a freak-of-nature one-handed catch, while somehow staying in bounds.
For the remainder of the season, Grice needs to continue to see increased opportunities. Seattle is used to beastly running backs via Marshawn Lynch, and Grice made them familiar with another.
Jaelen Strong left the game in the first quarter and barely played for the rest of the game. The pressure instantly turned to Chris Coyle, and he delivered as usual.
The dependable senior tight end had five receptions, 78 yards and one touchdown. Coyle isn't getting the same amount of touches as he did in 2012, but he never complains. Regardless of the weaker statistics, CBS's Phil Steele still placed Coyle on the mid-season All Pac-12 first team.
Coyle validated that decision. Kelly loves to turn to Coyle on third downs and in the goal line. Those type of clutch situations are where Coyle shinned brightest. In addition, his improvements in the run blocking game aided Grice.
The majority of the credit should be dished out to the ASU defensive line. Because of Will Sutton, Gannon Conway, Carl Bradford and more, Price could never find any rhythm and Bishop Sankey was a non-factor.
The Sun Devil pass rushers haven't lived up to the lofty preseason hype but they showcased their elite talent against Washington. Sankey, who was previously the leading rusher in the nation, only posted 22 yards. The run defense has been the Achilles heel for the ASU defense, but it was actually their strength against Sankey.
Holding Sankey to around 100 yards would've been considered solid. But holding Sankey to 22 yards is unfathomable, and provides plenty of optimism going forward.
Sutton routinely reset the line of scrimmage by beating the Huskies offensive lineman off the ball. Bradford came storming in off the other edge and Conway sealed his lanes with sound tackling.
The ASU defense relies on the pass rush more than most teams because of their hybrid attacking approach from Paul Randolph. The defensive line got the pressure they've been lacking, and the rest is history.