Quick start ignites Sun Devils
TEMPE, Ariz. – Taylor Kelly accounted for three touchdowns and Marion Grice ran for two more in a dominating first half, leading Arizona State to a 54-13 rout over listless Colorado on Saturday night.
Arizona State (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) wanted to make a statement after a tough stretch in the schedule and did just that, overwhelming the Buffaloes with 25 points in the game’s first 11 minutes.
Kelly threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns, ran for another score and Grice pushed his nation-leading touchdown total to 15 as the Sun Devils went up 47-6 at halftime.
Colorado (2-3, 0-3) kept it close against Arizona State in Boulder last season before being outscored 31-0 in the second half.
The Sun Devils nearly matched that in the first quarter and never let up on the Buffaloes, forcing four turnovers while sending them to their 11th straight Pac-12 loss.
Colorado replaced quarterback Connor Wood in the first quarter after an interception. Freshman Sefo Liufau wasn’t much better, throwing two more interceptions. Colorado also lost a fumble and finished with 268 total yards – ASU had 531 – in its third straight lopsided Pac-12 loss.
The Sun Devils have one of the nation’s toughest schedules and were coming off the most brutal part of it, facing Wisconsin, Stanford, Southern California and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks.
Arizona State went 2-2 in those games, closing the run out with a disappointing 37-34 loss to the Fighting Irish in Texas.
Now that the toughest part is over, the Sun Devils were looking forward to chasing their main goal of winning the Pac-12 championship and facing the less power-oriented teams in the conference.
The Sun Devils raced past the Buffaloes from the start, scoring on a 69-yard pass from Kelly to Jaelen Strong in the first 90 seconds. Grice scored on an 8-yard run 3 minutes later, Zane Gonzalez kicked a 26-yard field goal and Grice scored again on a 1-yard run after an interception.