Welcome to our new summer series. A lot has happened over Todd Graham's first three seasons as Arizona State's head football coach. Over the next two weeks, we will be ranking 15 of Graham's 28 total wins so far before the 2015 season, which has potential to send the program to new heights. Today's game looks back at a significant blowout against USC, which changed the script of the typical Devils-Trojans matchup for years to come.
No. 6: Sept. 28, 2013 — ASU vs. USC: Devils demolish the Trojans, 62-41
It's not every game in college football that a team plays so well, it gets the opponent's head coach fired after that week.
Arizona State's 62-41 blowout on ESPN 2 was so resounding, USC athletic director Pat Haden reportedly made the decision to fire struggling coach Lane Kiffin near the end of the third quarter in which ASU scored 28 unanswered points. Haden informed Kiffin of his termination on the tarmac of Los Angeles International Airport the next morning.
The game didn't resemble a blowout at all in the first 17 minutes of the game, as USC threatened ASU with a 14-7 lead at the beginning of the second quarter. The Sun Devils went to work by scoring 13 points in the first half thanks to a Marion Grice rushing touchdown and two Zane Gonzalez field goals. After USC running back Tre Madden scored on the Trojans' opening possession, the Sun Devils broke out on a 28-0 run.
Despite a small comeback effort from USC with two quick touchdowns, the Trojans lost star wide receiver Marqise Lee to a knee injury in the fourth quarter, and the deficit proved to be insurmountable.
The Sun Devils accumulated 612 yards of total offense, including 267 yards on the ground. The 62 points scored ended up being the most ASU scored against a conference opponent at home at that time, and it also tied the most USC had ever allowed in a single game.
It was another big game early in the 2013 season for Grice. The senior had four touchdowns — two rushing and two receiving — while recording 99 all-purpose yards.
ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly finished the game throwing 23-for-34 with 351 passing yards and three touchdowns, the other score going to running back D.J. Foster.
And the Sun Devils' offensive line did its job too. Kody Koebensky, Vi Teofilo, Evan Finkenberg, Tyler Sulka and Jamil Douglas held the front line so well, Kelly invited the five linemen to speak with him at the postgame press conference.
On the defensive end for ASU, Alden Darby recorded two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter
WHAT IT DID FOR ASU: This was certainly one of Graham's most dominant wins that happened to come against a high-profile opponent. As ASU previously struggled to beat the Trojans before Graham's tenure, this win helped the Sun Devils overcome this stigma and proved they can now compete against a powerhouse like USC every season.
As for the scope of the 2013 season, the Sun Devils responded greatly after a tough loss in Stanford in the previous week. The win was imperative toward ASU eventually winning the Pac-12 South title, as it gave the team needed leverage over the rest of the division.