Arizona State (2-1, 0-1) opened Pac-12 conference play on a sour note Saturday night here in Palo Alto, getting drilled by #5 Stanford (3-0, 1-0) 42-28.
Stanford rolled up a 29-0 halftime lead mainly due to miscues by the Sun Devils. A blocked punt, interception, two long kick returns, and poor protection for quarterback Taylor Kelly put ASU in a hole they couldn’t dig out of in the second half.
“We were obviously not ready to play today,” head coach Todd Graham said afterwards. “The first half was obviously embarrassing.”
The Devils began to climb back in the second half thanks to some Kelly to Jaelen Strong (12 catches, 168 yards, touchdown) big plays down the sidelines but the deficit eventually proved too much to overcome as the Cardinal continued to pound away at the interior of the ASU defense, who played most of game without sophomore starting defensive tackle Jaxon Hood who left the field on crutches with a hamstring injury.
Stanford’s size defensively seemed to bother the Sun Devil offense who continually hurt themselves with untimely penalties, poor field position and lack of execution. Each facet Graham stressed if the Devils were to pull off the upset.
It was clear who the better team was from the opening kickoff on The Farm.
USC (3-1, 0-1) comes to Tempe next Saturday night in a Pac-12 South matchup which kicks off at 7:30.