Arizona State hadn't played football for nearly a month, but it certainly didn't seem like it in the first half. They jumped out to a quick early lead but the Blue Devils fought their way back into the game as the half wore on.
Duke began with the ball, but ASU quickly got a stop after one first down and the Sun Devils found great field position after a terrible punt. Taylor Kelly quickly found Jaelen Strong for a 16-yard strike followed by a 14-yard run by Kelly himself and an 11-yard scamper by D.J. Foster. Demario Richard finished off the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run and the Sun Devils found themselves up 7-0 early.
The Blue Devils were forced to punt again and ASU took over on their own 21-yard line. Kelly connected with Strong for 49 yards, but the Sun Devils couldn't convert. Zane Gonzalez proceeded to knock a 28-yard field goal through the uprights to give ASU the 10-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
Duke found some success on the ground on their next drive with Shaquille Powell amassing 20 yards on the ground. It resulted in a Ross Martin 40-yard field goal to bring the Blue Devils within a touchdown. The Sun Devils would respond on their next drive with another 38-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez.
Another quick stop by the Sun Devil defense gave ASU the ball on the 34 yard line. Kelly completed 34 yards passing to Strong, Ellis Jefferson and Gary Chambers on the drive. He also converted a fourth down on an 11-yard run to the one yard line. Richard punched it in from a yard out to give the Sun Devils a 20-3 lead with 7:39 to play in the half.
Duke then began mounting a comeback.
Powell found his groove for the Blue Devils on the next drive. He moved Duke across midfield on a 32-yard reception and then ran for another 17 yards and finished the drive off with a 14-yard touchdown catch from Boone to get the Blue Devils to double digits 20-10 with just under four minutes left in the half. After another ASU drive stalled, the Sun Devils were forced to punt and Jamison Crowder returned it 68 yards for the touchdown to cut the lead to three points.
The Sun Devils couldn't get anything going on the next drive as they went into halftime up 20-17.