The first drive for Arizona State was entertaining to say the least. It included a 52-yard run by quarterback Taylor Kelly, which was a career-high for him. It included a Jaelen Strong reception, who was downed on the one-yard line. It included Deantre Lewis punching it in for a 1-yard score.
But most of all, it included Zane Gonzalez.
After the Lewis touchdown, the Sun Devils lined up in a trick formation. Quarterback Mike Bercovici handed the ball off to De'Marieya Nelson, who ran out left like he was going to run in the conversion, but he pulled up and wound up to pass. From there he found Gonzalez, yes the Gonzalez that is the kicker, who hauled in the two-point conversion. 8-0.
Then it got ugly in a hurry. Marcus Hardison recovered a fumble on the very next drive, which was quickly turned into a touchdown. It wasn't 52 yards, but Kelly tucked it, kept it and scored it to put Arizona State up 15-0.
The next drive was more of the same, the only difference was it was Jordan Simone who took the ball away from a New Mexico quarterback. And once again, it wasn't too hard for Arizona State to re-enter the end zone, the only difference is it was running back Kalen Ballage who scored the touchdown.
By the time New Mexico got on the board, Arizona State already had 22 and it seemed like it was too little, too late. The triple option showed how effective it can be when done correctly, as the Lobos went 75 yards in eight plays. It ended with an 8-yard rush by Jhurell Pressley and a 22-8 score.
On the next drive, Arizona State responded and went 82 yards in 10 plays in only 2:52 and handed it off to Ballage for a 3-yard run and his second touchdown of the game. Ballage used the first half of today's game to establish himself as the team's goal-line threat for the season.
When New Mexico decided to pass the ball, good things started happening. Quarterback Lamar Jordan completed his first-career pass, and it went 44 yards to Tyler Duncan. Two plays later, running back Teryion Gipson fumbled the ball, and Arizona State's Antonio Longino came out of the pile with the ball, but the referees ruled the ball down, and video review was inconclusive. On the next play, Jordan completed a cross-route pass to Gipson for a 32-yard touchdown.
Then it was the Sun Devils' turn to fumble. A bad handoff between Kelly and Demario Richard popped the ball lose and the Lobos recovered. They scored five plays later, and the Arizona State lead was down to 29-21.
At the end of the half, Arizona State settled for a field goal, and went into the half with a 32-21.
Stay tuned to House of Sparky for postgame recap and join the conversation on our gamethread.