Arizona State football made it a lot easier for the student body to enjoy Halloweekend after a 55-21 romping over Washington State. The Sun Devils went trick or treating in Pullman and came home with the biggest bag of candy one could imagine.
Now comes the difficult part: determining who were the three best players of the game where Wazzu was shutout for two quarters and the offense surpassed 50 points for the third straight weekend. If only there were more treats to go around...
This one is a no-brainer. The first game ball has to go to Marcus Mariota...excuse me, I mean Taylor Kelly. But he sure resembled the Heisman-favorite with the read option damage he did Thursday.
Kelly burned the Cougars front-seven for 66 yards on the ground, racking up both of the team's rushing touchdowns in the process. But he was arguably just as impressive in the air. He completed 21 of his 33 passes for 275 yards and five touchdowns. So in fantasy terms, the Idaho native racked up 47.6 points (Peyton who?).
What made Kelly so explosive was that he spread the wealth down field and connected with eight different receivers, including a couple of strikes over thirty yards. I like to call those game-changing moments. His only mistake on the evening was the interception, but hey, it just proves that even Kelly is human. Clearly he put on his best costume in a game where his team needed him to rise to the occasion on the road.
This Halloween, Bradford went as the Incredible Hulk. Bradford's motor was superhuman as he seemed to always be in the Cougars' backfield . The stats that everyone should be aware of by now is that he forced two fumbles, recorded one of the team's three sacks, officially hurried Connor Halliday three times. Sounds like a game-changer to me.
Oh yeah, and another thing. Halliday was second in the NCAA in passing yards entering the game so the fact that Bradford made him so uncomfortable was huge.
The Devilbacker made the Cougars offensive line look like a junior varsity team. With Bradford paving the way, Arizona State has held its opponents to negative three yards rushing in the last eight quarters.
It was a complete game all around and one that reminded back NFL scouts he's still one of the finest pass rushers in the nation.
Time to give credit where credit is due after we've questioned his uninspired play-calling throughout the 2013 season. Norvell called a beautiful game in a hostile environment. Pullman is a difficult place to play, but Norvell rallied the troops and executed the attack just like ASU needed.
The Sun Devils only punted twice all evening compared to the Cougars' eight and everyone seemed to get involved on the offensive side of the ball. Obviously, Kelly was the MVP but for the first time all season, the FBS leader in touchdowns Marion Grice failed to find the end zone. And that's actually a compliment to how balanced Norvell's play-calling was.
Deantre Lewis has 13 touches for 48 yards, DJ Foster had seven receptions and a pair of touchdowns, and Kelly was allowed to use his legs once again. ASU got up early and kept Washington State's defense off balance. They average over 46 points a contest, good for sixth best in the NCAA and the Pac-12 knows how dangerous this attack is.
DJ Foster accumulated 107 yards and two scores on Halloween night. So much for kicking problems in Tempe because Zane FG-onzalez made 13 straight field goals and leads all kickers in points. He needs eight more field goals in five games (because the Sun Devils are bowl eligible) to tie the NCAA freshman record for most field goals in a season set by Kai Forbath of UCLA. Lets give Alden Darby some love too for leading the team with eight total tackles, breaking up three passes, and forcing a fumble. Sometimes it's easy to take his steady presence for granted.