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The Sun Devils shook off an underwhelming first half to finish strong and beat the Buffaloes 51 -17 on Thursday night
Take a deep breath. ASU survived the 20-17 halftime scare.
Wide receiver Rashad Ross silenced the doubters on the opening kick-off of the second half, returning it for a 100-yard touchdown. Head coach Todd Graham was not pleased at the half, but he was certainly happy when it took his team just 11 seconds to go up 27-17. In the end, ASU's high octane offense exploded for 31 points in the second half.
We can all agree the first half was not the prettiest performance by the Sun Devils on the road, but they made adjustments and put the game in the game squarely in the win column by the end. A fairly weak Colorado defensive line did a great job of locking on to the Sun Devils snap count in the first half, which brought some pressure to quarterback Taylor Kelly.
The Sun Devils still need to work on ball security before their game against Oregon next week. Return specialist Jamal Miles fumbled the kickoff inside the twenty-yard line, which resulted in a free three points for Colorado as the first half expired. Cameron Marshall also turned the ball over at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The stories of the game were the running backs and second half adjustments. They helped erase the second quarter woes after the Sun Devils surrendered 17 points. DJ Foster had nine touches for 61 yards and gained an additional 71 yards receiving with a touchdown through the air. Senior Cameron Marshall had a team high 98 yards rushing with a touchdown, averaging 7.5 yards per carry.
"Not once, not twice, but Grice," said David Pollack on the ESPN game call.
Marion Grice had five receptions for 101 yards and get this, three touchdowns.
These three scores helped the Sun Devils pile up 593 yards of total offense. Kelly completed 71 percent of his passes for 308 yards, five touchdowns and no turnovers. Oh, and he also rushed for 67 yards.
After allowing a season high 17 points in one quarter, the Sun Devils defense dismantled the Buffaloes and did a better job of getting in the face of Colorado quarterback Jordan Webb. Brandon Magee got half of his pregame wish. He wanted to shut out the Buffaloes on national television, but instead, ASU did not give up a point in the second half. The defense finished with five sacks, nine tackles for a loss and an interception.
The Sun Devils had five penalties for 33 yards in the first half, and did not garner a penalty after the half. Going into the game, the Sun Devils were sixth in the FBS in penalties averaging a mere 31 yards per game.
Michael Eubank took his first snap of the game with 3:35 remaining in the third quarter. Kelly returned to the game fewer than ten snaps later, but Eubank did finish the night completing three of his five passes for 24 yards and bulldozing 23 yards on the ground.
In other news, kicker Alex Garoutte was a perfect five for five on PAT attempts, but it was Jon Mora who booted the 38-yard field goal mid way through the fourth quarter to put the Sun Devils up by 20. Mora started the game, but was replaced by Garoutte after missing the first extra point of the game.
The Sun Devils head back to Tempe with a 5-1 record and the #2 Oregon Ducks awaiting another ESPN televised game on Thursday night.