NCAA: Arizona State Sun Devil Football Win Recap
This past Saturday at Frank Kush Field the Arizona State Sun Devil football team improved to 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the Pac-12 with a 30-17 win over Oregon State.
The Sun Devils have won five straight; the program’s longest winning streak since 2007 and beat Oregon State for the 19th time in 20 games at Sun Devil Stadium.
In this victory it was the Sun Devils’ defense and special teams that came through in the win. The Sun Devils’ defense intercepted Oregon State Quarterback Sean Mannion four times. (This is the same QB who had only thrown six total interceptions coming into this game). Senior Defensive Back Robert Nelson had two of those interceptions, including a 23-yard “pick-six” late in the fourth quarter which sealed the win for the Sun Devils. That gives Nelson five interceptions in his last five games. Nelson also recovered a fumble that ended a drive for the Beavers and added five tackles, with four being solo.
Saturday’s performance earned Nelson Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and he was also named the National Defensive Back of the Week by College Football Performance Awards.
The Sun Devils’ special teams also had one of its best performances. They blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter and forced a turnover off of a punt and kept the Oregon State offense deep in their own territory on others. Punter Alex Garoutte had a 40.3 average on his punts and a long punt of 55 yards. A field goal by freshman kicker Zane Gonzalez in the fourth quarter was his 14th straight and increased the Sun Devil lead to 23-10.
While the Sun Devils fans have been used to this team’s high-octane offense, it seemed to struggle most of the game. Quarterback Taylor Kelly drove the Sun Devils to a touchdown on the first drive of the game, but struggled afterwards to find his rhythm. He finished with 183 passing yards and two interceptions; which was very unusual for him.
Running back Marion Grice was able to pick-up for Kelly as he rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Grice is three touchdowns away from breaking Whizzer White’s school record for touchdowns in a season. Grice added 13 receiving yards on four catches and 25 yards on one kickoff return. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry, including a long of 40. He ended up with 157 all-purpose yards.
This Saturday the Sun Devils will get the shot it has worked for all season as they hit the road to face Pac-12 South opponent UCLA in Pasadena. The winner will be in control of 1st place and the chance to play the winner of the Pac-12 North in the Championship game. It will be the third straight season the Sun Devils will have played the Bruins with the Pac-12 South title on the line.
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