ASU vs. OSU: Game balls

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

The Sun Devils passed the test and will now play UCLA for a chance to clinch the Pac-12 South title.

Almost everyone is already looking ahead to UCLA but it's still necessary to give out the hardware for the game against Oregon State because some Sun Devils certainly deserved it. Who deserves game balls this week? Find out what we thought right here.

Todd Graham

This may seem somewhat unnecessary but Graham gets one this week because he showed a lot of guts and character with one single act. Graham sat Carl Bradford for a majority of the second half in a close game and a Pac-12 South title hanging in the balance.

What truly occurred between Bradford and Graham on that sideline is something Sun Devil fans may never truly know. What is certain is that Graham sent a message to the entire team that said he's not afraid to sit any given player at any given time because of their actions, whether they were on the field or off. What Graham did could be compared hypothetically to Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson sitting Paul Goldschmidt for the last five innings of game one of a three game series to end the regular season with the team in the heat of a chase for a playoff spot.

If that's not building character who knows what is? What program doesn't want that type of coach on the sidelines every Saturday? In all likelihood, it was an honorable decision by Graham and he certainly deserves the recognition for it.

Robert Nelson

Nelson had two picks including the nail in the coffin pick-six to seal the win for ASU. It marks the third week in a row Nelson has found himself on the receiving end of a throw by the opposing team's quarterback.

Number nine also had a fumble recovery and five tackles on the night. It seems as if Nelson has consistently been around the ball lately. Todd Graham also named Nelson his player of the game and he broke the rock in the locker room after the game. If the redshirt senior from Lakeland, Fla. can continue to be an imposing force in the secondary the Sun Devils will definitely be tough to throw against going forward.

He was part of the group of defensive backs that held Brandin Cooks under 100 yards receiving. This is the same Brandin Cooks that Todd Graham referred to as the best wide receiver he had seen on film all year.

Marion Grice

It certainly was not Taylor Kelly's best performance. The quarterback from Idaho threw for only 183 yards, was sacked twice, and also threw two interceptions. When that happens, someone else has to step up. It just happened to be Marion Grice who burst back onto the scene Saturday night.

Grice scored his first touchdown in two games and carried his momentum from the fourth quarter of the Utah game right back to Sun Devil Stadium where he looked like his normal self averaging 4.9 yards per carry. However he will face a tough test next week against Anthony Barr, Myles Jack and company.

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