There is a little phenomenon called #Pac12AfterDark and then there is what happened Saturday night in Tempe. In a game that resembled an Arena Football game more than a college football game, Arizona State and Texas Tech combined for 71 points and 734 yards — and that was just in the first half.
When the dust settled, it was the Arizona State Sun Devils improving to 2-0 by way of a 68-55 victory.
Along the way, perhaps hidden in the madness of a four-plus hour football game, junior running back Kalen Ballage just kept scoring touchdowns. He scored four times in the second quarter alone, including three rushing touchdowns from the WildDevil (yes, we named it that) formation that the Sun Devils had not shown much in the past.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound back wasn’t finished in the second half, finding the end zone two more times in short rushes in the third quarter, the later broke the ASU record for touchdowns in a game with 43 seconds left in the third.
With 10:57 left to play in the game, Ballage bulldozed his way into the end zone from one-yard out to record his seventh touchdown of the game and break the Pac-12 record for touchdowns in a game.
On ASU’s ensuing drive, Ballage broke off a 76-yard run for his eighth touchdown of the night. That run tied an FBS record for touchdowns in a game.
He finished the night with 137 yards on 13 carries and seven rushing touchdowns. He also tallied 48 yards receiving and a receiving score as well.
Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes did his best to outshine Ballage and keep his Red Raiders in the contest. Mahomes finished the night 38-53 for 540 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran for a score and tossed two costly interceptions.
The junior signal caller connected with his receivers for touchdowns of 59 yards, 75 yards and 66 yards and the Red Raiders scored touchdowns on five of their eight first half possessions.
However, every time that the Red Raiders threw a punch, the Sun Devils countered. Manny Wilkins connected with eight different receivers and finished the night 28-37 for 351 yards and two touchdowns.
He showed to be much more than a game manager, as the Sun Devils started the contest with four consecutive passing plays.
Wilkins connected with freshman N’Keal Harry from 10 yards out to put ASU on the board with a little less than five minutes gone in the first quarter. Wilkins and Ballage connected on a 39-yard strike early in the second quarter to put ASU up 23-21 in the seesaw affair in which the Sun Devils took a 37-34 lead into the half.
The second half belonged to Ballage. Within a span of 13 minutes of game action from the third quarter into the early fourth, Ballage scored three rushing touchdowns to bring ASU from behind 41-37 to a 58-41 lead.
The Sun Devil defense allowed 612 yards and showed some deficiencies in their pass defense yet came up with big stops in the second half to keep their team in the game and set up Sun Devil scores. The Red Raiders turned the ball over on two of their final four possessions.
De’Chavon "Gump" Hayes intercepted Mahomes twice and Kareem Orr posted a game-high eight tackles.
The Sun Devils improve to 2-0 on the young season and will face UTSA in San Antonio on Friday night.
Stay tuned for more post game analysis including a full gamer.