They said Saturday’s matchup between Arizona State and Texas Tech had all the makings of a shootout heading into the game.
They weren’t wrong.
Combining for more than 70 points in 30 minutes, the Sun Devils have taken a 37-34 lead into the locker rooms here at halftime at Sun Devil Stadium.
After both teams traded punts to start the game, the maroon and gold needed just under two minutes to find the end zone and jump out to an early lead.
The offense drove 43 yards on six plays and found the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Manny Wilkins to N’Keal Harry to give Arizona State a 7-0 lead.
The Red Raiders would quickly answer back, however, taking advantage of a failed onside kick by the ASU. Using four straight run plays (three of them by quarterback Patrick Mahomes) inside the ASU 20, Texas Tech punched the ball in with ease to pull even at 7-7.
After allowing a safety later in the first quarter, the visitors from Lubbock took their first lead of the night via a free play, 59-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to receiver Derrick Willies after ASU jumped offsides.
The first quarter ended with Arizona State trailing 14-9, but the score wouldn’t stay that way for long. A pair of big personal foul penalties on Texas Tech moved the ball deep inside Red Raider territory, and Kalen Ballage then gave his team the lead back with an easy one-yard touchdown jaunt out of the “WildDevil” formation.
Sticking with the back and forth nature of the half, a quick two-play strike from Texas Tech (punctuated by a 75-yard touchdown pass) made the score 21-16.
The Sun Devils then scored the third touchdown of the quarter less than 90 seconds later, and a fourth shortly thereafter, to grab a 30-21 advantage on a pair of Ballage touchdowns.
An 11-yard touchdown throw from Mahomes (his third of the half) pulled his team to within 30-27 before the point after attempt was missed.
Arizona State then used yet another direct snap to Ballage for a touchdown, giving the Sun Devils a 37-27 lead.
It looked as if that would be the score heading into the half, but one final touchdown pass from Mahomes inched the Red Raiders to within 37-34 at the break. This one went 13 yards to mark the quarterback’s fourth touchdown in the first 30 minutes of the game.
Texas Tech amassed 380 total yards in the first half, with the maroon and gold following close behind at 354. Richard’s four touchdowns are the most in a game for a Sun Devil running back since his four against Duke in the 2014 Sun Bowl.