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ASU Football first-half recap: Roller coaster first half leaves Sun Devils up 24-14

How did the first half play out?

Doug Pensinger

It was a tale of two quarters, but thanks to some heroics by Jordan Simone, the Sun Devils are heading into halftime up 24-14.

Arizona State got things off to a quick start forcing a three and out for Colorado after a Marcus Hardison sack. As the Sun Devils started with the ball on their own 31, Taylor Kelly used his feet to get the Sun Devils across the 50. De'Marieya Nelson made his first reception of the season and then D.J. Foster took over. He carried the ball three times for 36 yards on the drive including a 15-yard touchdown run to give Arizona State the early 7-0 lead with 9:58 to play in the first quarter.

After a 46-yard kickoff return by Colorado, Sefo Liufau took a long shot down field that was intercepted by Jordan Simone, his first interception as a Sun Devil, and returned to the Sun Devil 35-yard line. Kelly took a shot deep to Jaelen Strong who drew pass interference and then the two connected on a 12-yard pass. Colorado native Kalen Ballage took care of the rest, catching a quick screen and scampering 38 yards for the touchdown, knocking over center Nick Kelly in the process, and the Sun Devils quickly jumped out to a 14-0 lead.

After forcing another Colorado three-and-out, Arizona State was stopped for the first time after Kelly took a 13-yard sack and Strong was called for pass interference. The Buffaloes finally got their first first down of the game on the next drive on a 13-yard pass to Tyler McCulloch but the Sun Devils quickly forced another punt. On the next drive, D.J. Foster ripped off another huge run of 52-yards, which put the Sun Devils in scoring position at the Colorado 16-yard line as the first quarter came to a close.

Although the second quarter started out well for the Sun Devils, it belonged to the Buffaloes. On third and seven Cameron Smith dropped a pass, but Zane Gonzalez made a 31-yard field goal, increasing the Arizona State lead to 17-0. However the Buffaloes would finally answer on the next drive. SPUR linebacker Laiu Moeakiola went to the locker room with an apparent shoulder injury and it hurt Arizona State. The Buffaloes went 77 yards in 10 plays which finished with a nine-yard connection from Liufau to Shay Fields for the touchdown. It cut the Sun Devils' lead to 17-7 with 10:06 remaining in the half.

Colorado was able to force another Arizona State three-and-out. The Buffaloes chewed up another 3:06 on the clock, pounding the Sun Devils' defensive line on the ground with Tony Jones and Christian Powell. But it was a touchdown pass to Spruce that put the Buffaloes within three points of the Sun Devils 17-14.

Another quick three plays and punt by Matt Haack down to the Colorado nine-yard line and things were looking even more grim for the Sun Devils until Simone came to the rescue. He ripped a fumble out of Colorado running back Michael Adkins II on the first play from scrimmage that was recovered by DJ Calhoun. Arizona State quickly took advantage with Kelly connecting with Foster on a 5-yard touchdown pass. It gave the Sun Devils a 24-14 lead.

Colorado couldn't do much else on the next drive as the Sun Devils held them scoreless and time ran out on the first half.