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Arizona State vs. Colorado: Sun Devils take care of business

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There was no trap game to be had Saturday for the Sun Devils.

Taylor Kelly threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns in the first half of a 54-13 victory over Colorado.
Taylor Kelly threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns in the first half of a 54-13 victory over Colorado.
Christian Petersen

There were some that thought Colorado could keep up with Arizona State. There were some that thought the Sun Devils would still be licking their wounds from last week's lost to Notre Dame or looking ahead to a showdown with Washington. Those folks thought wrong.

The Sun Devils outplayed the Buffaloes from the opening kickoff to the final whistle Saturday to earn a 54-13 rout over the Pac-12's resident cellar-dwellers.

"We went out and dominated a team that we should have dominated," said Todd Graham after his team's win. "There is nothing that I could not be pleased with tonight. We probably dominated them as bad as they have been dominated this year."

The scoring for Arizona State started early and never relented in the first 30 minutes. In their 47-6 first half, the Sun Devils out-gained the Buffaloes by more than 300 total yards.

Taylor Kelly found Jaelen Strong for a 69-yard touchdown pass 90 seconds into the game that put the Sun Devils up 7-0. The rest was history. In one half of work, Kelly threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns despite completing less than 50% of his passes.

"This was great for our team, to build our confidence," said Kelly after the victory. "We prepared very well this week and didn't take Colorado lightly. We handled our business tonight."

While's Kelly's first touchdown pass was to a familiar face, his second caused a double take. With Arizona State on the one yard-line, 275-pound defensive tackle Davon Coleman entered the game as the fullback and caught his first career touchdown pass. It was a play that even surprised Graham.

"I thought Will (Sutton) was the receiving fullback," said Graham. "Davon is a very, very talented individual, he is a very, very good fullback who has great hands."

The Sun Devil offense put up points on its first five possessions, including four touchdowns. Of their nine first half possessions, only one did not result in points.

Arizona State was paced by an efficient rushing attack, led by Marion Grice. The Sun Devils finished with a season-high 276 rushing yards, 88 of them coming from Grice who sat out most of the second half.

Grice scored two touchdowns in the first half before being relieved by senior running back R.J. Robinson, who rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown in the second half.

"I think that's a common denominator in every win that we have," said Graham about the running game. "We are efficient running the football. We ran the ball hard and did a good job taking care of the football."

The Arizona State defense played its best game since its week one shutout of Sacramento State. Colorado had just 94 yards of offense in the first half. The Sun Devils forced four turnovers, forced the Buffaloes into a safety and held Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson without a catch in the first half.

Linebacker Carl Bradford had his finest game of the 2013 season as well, racking up four tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 TFL and a forced fumble.

"We knew we needed to step up," said Bradford about the defense. "Our guys have been focused since Tuesday. We knew we needed to play a Sun Devil defense and I think we stepped up."

The Sun Devils will once again face a step up in competition next week when the Washington Huskies come to town. According to Graham, one Sun Devil defender didn't wait to get off the field against Colorado before talking about Washington.

"We're signing the fight song, and Will walks up behind me and says, 'Coach we have to go to work on Washington, it's going to be a big deal.'"

Sounds like music to Graham's ears.

For more on Arizona State's annihilation of Colorado, here's our instant analysis recap.