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Todd Graham's 15 Best Wins No. 15: ASU's offense explodes in Colorado

Rashad Ross' 100-yard kickoff return was the start to a dominant second half in the Sun Devils' 2012 game against Colorado that we felt was Todd Graham's 15th-best win at ASU.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

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. Before that happens, let's look back at the games that put ASU in this position, starting with a cold Thursday night in October 2012:

No. 15: Oct. 11, 2012 — ASU explodes in second half at Colorado 51-17

With Arizona State boasting a 4-1 record, the Sun Devils were going through their usual road troubles yet again, this time in Boulder against a lowly Colorado team on a Thursday night primetime feature on ESPN.

Despite two rushing touchdowns from Marion Grice, the Buffaloes had scored their second touchdown of the game with 17 seconds left in the second quarter, and Arizona State went into halftime with just a 20-17 lead.

But on the opening kickoff of the second half, wide receiver Rashad Ross hauled in a 100-yard return, and the floodgates opened for ASU from there.

Arizona State followed up Ross' return with a 20-yard touchdown reception from Grice, a 38-yard field goal from Jon Mora, a 31-yard touchdown catch from Rick Smith and a 14-yard touchdown run from Cameron Marshall. ASU scored 31 unanswered points in the second half to improve to 5-1.

The Sun Devils finished the game with 593 yards of total offense — 261 of them coming from the ground. Despite Colorado's resilience in the first half, the Buffaloes only finished with 255 total yards.

Defensive tackle Will Sutton and linebacker Brandon Magee each came up with two sacks in the game. Defensive back Robert Nelson also nabbed an interception late in the fourth quarter to seal the game.

It was also a breakout game for a freshman running back named D.J. Foster, who recorded 71 receiving yards on six receptions with a touchdown along with 61 rushing yards.

WHAT IT DID FOR ASU: It certainly wasn't a season-defining win, but it was still a Pac-12 road game, something that Arizona State always struggled with at the time. It was beginning of a new trend that ASU would close games with a victory in the second half instead of choking them away. It was also the start of Grice's takeover as ASU's feature running back over Marshall for the next season and a half.

Because this gave ASU steady progress in a high point of the season, we saw this as No. 15 of Graham's 28 best wins.