Arizona State's 55-0 drubbing of Sacramento State went about as well as the Sun Devils could have imagined. The Sun Devils gained 523 yards of offense, forced four turnovers and only committed one penalty. It was Arizona State's first shutout victory since October of 2010.
The Sun Devil defense was spectacular all night, holding the Hornets to just six first downs and 167 yards of total offense. Sacramento State was a mere 4-15 on third down and only mustered 51 rushing yards.
A lot of players stood out on Thursday night. The first team defense flew to the ball and the defensive line wreaked havoc in the Sacramento State backfield all night.
We pass out game balls for ASU's 55-0 victory over Sacramento State
Taylor Kelly (23-31, 300 YDS, 5 TD)
Kelly was no doubt the standout performer from the victory. He is the player who fans left the stadium talking about, and for good reason. Kelly looked poised and collected all night. He found eight different receivers on passes, and led Arizona State to touchdowns on its first five drives.
Granted it was against an FCS defense, but Kelly looked a step above where he finished last season. In his last four games, the signal caller has thrown 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He was effective running the zone-read with Marion Grice and he was even the third leading rusher on the team.
Jaelen Strong (6 catches 58 YDS, 1 TD)
Because Kelly spread the ball out so effectively, it was difficult for one receiver to stand out. However, the newcomer Strong led ASU with six catches and had the second most receiving yards in Thursday's win. Strong's most impressive catch was a 24-yard touchdown grab where he showed off his superior hands and body control.
It is impressive for Strong to lead ASU in receptions in his first game, considering he began practicing less than a month ago. It is clear that Strong will be a featured member of the ASU offense all season long.
Grandville Taylor (4 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FR)
The former walk-on, Taylor had four tackles and a fumble recovery as apart of Arizona State's stout defensive effort. Taylor's biggest play came when he intercepted a Garrett Safron pass and returned it 67 yards to set up an ASU touchdown.
Taylor's four tackles tied him for the team lead with Salamo Fiso and he was the only Sun Devil to come up with two turnovers. Taylor will be featured in the linebacker rotation this year, and provides great depth for ASU at that position.