After two blowout victories to open the 2014 season, Arizona State embarks on its first conference game of the young season this Saturday when they travel up to Colorado to take on the Buffaloes. The No. 16 Sun Devils come into the game at 2-0 while Colorado is fresh off their first victory of 2014, beating UMass 41-38.
In 2013, the circumstances headed into Arizona State's duel with Colorado were different, as the Sun Devils were fresh off an incredibly frustrating loss to Notre Dame. They took out that frustration against the Buffs, scoring at will and shutting down Colorado's offense.
Colorado started the game with junior Connor Wood at quarterback, but he struggled and head coach Mike MacIntyre yanked him in the first quarter. MacIntrye opted to go with freshman Sefo Liufau, and Liufau's first collegiate action netted him 169 yards on 18-26 passing, throwing one touchdown and two interceptions.
With a freshman quarterback playing for Colorado, Arizona State's experience dominated. Todd Graham's first-stringers only played one half, but they racked up 392 yards of offense in the first half and led 47-6 going into the break. Taylor Kelly didn't have a great statisitcal game, but he still threw for two touchdowns and scrambled 17 yards for another score. Jaelen Strong continued his breakout season as he collected 109 receiving on only three catches, the longest of which was a slant route that he took 69 yards to the house.
Defensive lineman Davon Coleman contributed on both sides of the ball for Arizona State. He forced Liufau into an intentional grounding safety, and when the Sun Devils had the ball on the goal line early in the second quarter, he came into the game and caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to further embarrass Colorado.
Marion Grice ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns and an opportunistic Sun Devil defense recorded three interceptions and a fumble recovery in the 58-13 laugher.
Colorado's best receiver in 2013, current Seattle Seahawk Paul Richardson, only hauled in three catches for 39 yards on the day and left Sun Devil Stadium without a touchdown. Colorado's lone passing touchdown of the night came on a second quarter ten-yard pitch and catch from Liufau to Nelson Spruce. With Richardson off in the NFL, Spruce will be relied on as Liufau's top target on Saturday.
The win in 2013 over Colorado sparked a a seven-game winning streak that spanned the remainder of the regular season and catapulted the Sun Devils to the Pac-12 South title. Another win over the Buffaloes this year would put Arizona State at 3-0 and it great position heading into a bye week before welcoming No. 12 UCLA to Tempe.