It could have been the dreaded trap game for Arizona State on Saturday night.
The Sun Devils are coming off a gruesome month of games capped off by an emotional loss to Notre Dame in Dallas last week.
In front of them Saturday was Colorado, the worst team in the Pac-12 with the Washington Huskies waiting in the wings next Saturday. Many times we have seen college football teams lose focus and lose a head scratching game a week before a difficult matchup.
That was not the case for the Sun Devils as they closed that door right from the opening kick-off with Taylor Kelly and Jaelen Strong connecting on a a 69 yard touchdown on the opening drive and the defense flying all over the place. The Buffalos didn’t know what hit them and the end result was a 54-13 win for ASU.
“It was great for our team,” said Kelly. “It was great for our confidence. We didn’t take Colorado lightly.”
“We’ve got a good football team,” added ASU head coach Todd Graham. “ We went out and dominated a team we should dominate…I am really proud of our guys. The maturity they showed coming in, there is nothing I can be not pleased with after tonight.”
Chris Young was everywhere at the beginning of the game. He had seven tackles in the game, all were in the first quarter. The Sun Devil defense wanted to make sure they made a statement early.
“I think it started this week during practice,” explained Carl Bradford who had four tackles, one and a half sacks, two and a half tackles for loss and a forced fumble in the win. “We knew we needed to step up…and I think we stepped up this game.”
“I wanted to get them going tonight,” mentioned Graham. “We brought it from just about everywhere early just because I wanted to get those guys moving and flying around.”
The offense clicked with relative ease as well. Taylor Kelly managed to throw for 233 yards and two touchdowns on just nine completions in one half of play. Jaelen Strong as mentioned started things off with a bang with his 69 yard touchdown catch. He finished with 109 yards receiving for his fifth consecutive 100 yard game. And of course Marion Grice did what he does best and got in the end zone two more times, adding to his nation leading touchdown total.
“We had that tough four game stretch where week in and week out we played great opponents,” Kelly mentioned. “I think we are a lot better team than we were last year at this point…Our team has grown mentally, maturity-wise because of those games.”
It was nice for the Sun Devils to have their first “easy’ game since week one against Sacramento State. But now it’s right back to work as they face a very good Washington Husky team that is coming off two straight losses to two of the best in the conference (Stanford and Oregon) and will be hungry to get back into the win column.
“I do think that schedule has made us better,” stated Graham. “I do think we have matured. Tonight happened about how I thought it would. I thought our guys would come out and play well.”
“Big week this week,” Kelly added. “We have to put this one behind us and go back to work tomorrow.”