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ASU Football: Sun Devils claim Sun Bowl thriller 36-31 over Duke

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ASU picked up its 10th win of the season for the second year in a row.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Eds: This is our instant recap, published immediately after the game with the second half on top of the first half. Stay tuned to House of Sparky for postgame analysis.

The second half got off to a similar start to that of the first: good. Then it ended the same way: bad.

D.J. Foster got things started by catching a 28-yard pass under a minute in, ASU converted on a fourth-down play from the Duke 30-yard line and Demario Richard picked up his third touchdown of the day.

It ended up being an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ate up 3:52 of clock. ASU led 27-17.

Duke responded with a lengthy drive and getting into the redzone, using a trio of third-down conversions. Isaac Blakeney converted the third for the Blue Devis, but ASU's Kweishi Brown popped the ball out and Jordan Simone recovered the loose fumble. ASU got the ball back with just over 20 minutes left and a 10-point lead.

ASU didn't quite make the red zone on the next drive, but was able to get points. Duke stopped the Sun Devils at its own 30-yard yard line, but Zane Gonzalez connected from 47 yards out for his third field goal in as many tries. ASU took a 30-17 lead with 2:23 left in the third quarter.

The next drive had the feeling that Duke would need to score if it hoped to stay in the game. The Blue Devils knew that and played with a renewed fire. They converted two fourth-down conversions and got the points they so badly needed. From the 14-yard line, quarterback Anthony Boone looked like he was going to run, but pulled up and lobbed a pass to Johnell Barnes for the touchdown. It took 15 plays, but Duke found the end zone to bring there score within one score. AU led 30-24 with 10:10 left in the game.

ASU was sill in control at that point, but a failure to convert on 4th-and-inches in Blue Devil territory shifted the control to Duke, which took over from its 40-yard line. It was unable to get anything going, but converted on a spectacular fake punt to get Duke into the red zone. ASU came so close to an interception, even getting the call on the field, but it was overturned. Duke then had a 4th-and-2 from ASU's 12 with 5:07 before taking a timeout to decide what to do.

Duke not only converted, but took its first lead of the game. Jamison Crowder took a jet sweep handoff, pulled up and passed for the touchdown. Once down 20-3, with 5:03 left, Duke led 31-30.

But ASU wasn't going to go down fighting. Karen Ballage returned the kickoff 96 yards to the Duke 4-yard line. One play later, Demario Richard rushed in his fourth touchdown to give ASU the lead right back. The two-point conversion failed and ASU was up 36-31 with 4:45 left.

And Duke was not going quietly. All the way into ASU territory it went. Boone lobbed up a pass into the corner of the end zone and it came down in the arms of Brown, a Sun Devil.

ASU held on for the win and won the Sun Bowl.

First half:

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.