The month of November had been very unkind to the Arizona State Sun Devils. Dating back to last season, the Sun Devils had lost their six in the month, and entered Saturday's game riding a four-game losing streak that had ended ASU's Pac-12 South title hopes.
But for any struggling team, there is one remedy that cures all: A home game against Washington State.
The Sun Devils rebounded with a huge win over the hopeless Cougars. The 46-7 win put ASU over .500 once again at 6-5, and more importantly, made the Sun Devils bowl eligible for the second straight season.
Washington State's ineptitude was on display early. They set up to punt after the game's opening drive went nowhere, but the snap was botched and ASU took over at the Cougar six-yard line, which led to a Jon Mora 21-yard field goal.
While the Sun Devil defense completely shut down the Cougars, Taylor Kelly went to work. He threw two touchdowns in the opening quarter, one each to Rashad Ross and Chris Coyle. In an encouraging sign, the Sun Devil wide receivers were involved early, catching 10 passes in the opening quarter after managing just four last week against USC. Thanks to a two-point conversion pass from Kelly to Cameron Marshall after Ross' touchdown, ASU led 18-0 after the first quarter.
It was more of the same in the second quarter. Marion Grice scored on a sensational 17-yard reception in which he juked nearly half the Cougar defense out of their cleats, and Michael Eubank hit Coyle for a score to send the Sun Devils into the break up 32-0.
Given the score, the second half was on cruise control for both teams. Even still, the Sun Devils continued to strike. An eight-play, 65-yard drive was capped with a one-yard touchdown run by Eubank, and late in the third, Kelly scrambled and found Ross again on a 31-yard score.
With under a minute left in the game, Washington State scored on a 54-yard touchdown pass to Kristoff Williams. That score ended a nearly three-game long scoreless streak for the Cougars in Tempe, after 42-0 and 31-0 losses in 2010 and 2008 respectively.
The day was a great return to form for Kelly, who completed 20 of his 23 passes (no incompletions after the first quarter) for 246 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
In their final home game, here's how some ASU seniors did: Cameron Marshall ran for 75 yards on 16 carries, Rashad Ross had eight receptions for 79 yards and two scores, Jamal Miles had five catches for 53 yards, and James Morrison had 48 yards rushing, but also had a fumble. One defense, Keelan Johnson had two interceptions, Brandon Magee made four tackles, including a sack, and Deveron Carr had two tackles and two pass breakups.
The Sun Devils will now have a short week to prepare to take back the Territorial Cup against the Arizona Wildcats. That game is set for Friday down in Tucson.
Notes and Observations
- Sparky Push Up Counter: 174
- ASU outgained WSU 561-241.
- Marion Grice's receiving touchdown was his eighth of the year, which is the most of any running back in the nation.
- Keelan Johnson had two first half interceptions, giving him the team lead with four.
- Chris Coyle had three catches, giving him 51 on the year. He's five shy of Zach Miller's school record for a tight end.
- Washington State had the nation's worst rushing offense coming into the game (32.9 yards/game) and managed to gain just a single rushing yard.
- No team had given up more sacks than Washington State, and they gave up seven more to the Sun Devils.
Follow @BDenny29 Follow @HouseOfSparky
Like House of Sparky on Facebook