This season, we will bring you a new weekly feature during the ASU football season: NCAA 13 simulations of our games. In order to make it as realistic as possible, I have altered some players' skill sets -- for example, Brandon Magee is now an 87 overall instead of a pathetic 71. Taylor Kelly is now a 78, while Michael Eubank is a 76 with 82 speed.
The Sun Devils start their season against Northern Arizona, a team that isn't much of a test for ASU. Arizona State got off to a hot start in the first quarter, with Taylor Kelly throwing touchdown passes to Marcus Washington and Cameron Marshall. Alex Garoutte kicked in a field goal, and Marshall also ran in a touchdown to make it 24-0 Devils after the first quarter.
Kelly continued to target Washington in the second, throwing another touchdown to his starting tight end. At the half, 31-0 Devils. After the half, James Morrison went to work, scoring two touchdowns of his own. The backup defense got a little lazy, giving up 14 points to the Lumberjacks, but the game was in hand by that point.
The Sun Devils were committed to a bruising ground game, running the ball 46 times for 280 yards. On the other hand, ASU threw the ball only 24 times, proving that Todd Graham was serious about ball control and controlling the speed of the game. Michael Eubank, in relief of Kelly, completed only two of his eight pass attempts.
Morrison was the player of the game, picking up 129 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Marshall led the team in receiving yards with 55. Steffon Martin had a banner game in his first appearance in maroon and gold, scoring eight tackles and picking off an NAU pass.
Kelly's final stat line: 9 for 16, 183 passing yards, three touchdowns, one interception. He was also sacked three times, a trend that must stop in order for the Sun Devils to have a chance against a stiff Illinois defense next week.
Will Sutton, Junior Onyeali and Jaxon Hood picked up their first sacks of the season, while Osahon Irabor ran back an interception 29 yards. Alex Garoutte made both his field goal attempts and all five of his extra points.
Check back next Friday, September 7, for our NCAA simulation against the Fighting Illini.