Next up for ND: Arizona State--Sun Devils score 62 in win over USC

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
Playing the pace game to perfection, Arizona State raced past USC 62-41 on Saturday night, leaving the Trojans gasping while taking control of the Pac-12 South.

Arizona State cornerback Osahon Irabor (24) makes an interception against Southern California during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 28 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Todd Graham's mantra since the day he arrived in the desert had been the same: Go, go, go!

Arizona State had lived up to the coach's high-octane expectations for spurts in games and practices, yet had not been able to fully sustain the pace he preaches.

Once the Sun Devils got rolling against Southern California, there was no stopping them.

Playing the pace game to perfection, Arizona State raced past USC 62-41 on Saturday night, leaving the Trojans gasping while taking control of the Pac-12 South.

Marion Grice scored four touchdowns, two on passes from Taylor Kelly, and the Sun Devils racked up 612 total yards while scoring their most points in 30 all-time games against USC.

"This is the first time I've been here that our tempo dominated an opponent," Graham said.

Two plays got them rolling.

Trailing by one after USC opened the third quarter with a quick scoring drive, the Sun Devils (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) scored a pair of touchdowns 47 seconds apart to spark the runaway.

Kelly orchestrated the first, hitting D.J. Foster in stride for a 74-yard touchdown pass. Alden Darby was next, stepping in front of a pass by Cody Kessler for a 46-yard interception return that put the Sun Devils up 34-21.

Arizona State ran away from the Trojans from there.

Grice was the nation's leading scorer coming into the game and stretched his touchdown total to 12 — 18 in seven games over two seasons — scoring on catches of 11 and 8 yards and runs of 9 and 28 yards.

Kelly was solid , throwing for 351 yards on 23-of-34 passing

Behind those two, Arizona State finished with its most total yards in a conference game since gaining 667 against Oregon in 2000 and had its most points in a Pac-10/12 game since scoring 65 against Stanford in 2002.

The Sun Devils did it against a defense that had not allowed more 285 yards — 479 total its previous two games combined — or 14 points in a game this season.

"We didn't just win, we went out and dominated tonight," Graham said. "That was impressive. I was impressed with our team."

USC (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) had some success on offense, finishing with 542 total yards while looking dominant in two early scoring drives.

The running back duo of Tre Madden and Justin Davis led the Trojans, each scoring three touchdowns. Marqise Lee became USC's all-time leader for yards receiving after catching seven passes for 92 yards, but went out in the fourth quarter with an injury to his left knee suffered on a punt return. Kessler also completed 20 of 29 passes for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

It wasn't nearly enough with four turnovers — two on interceptions by Kessler — and Arizona State piling up yards while matching the most points ever scored against USC.

"It was a really big surprise to all of us to have that happen today," USC coach Lane Kiffin said. "We thought we'd play really well on defense, match up really well against them. They threw the ball downfield on us and made a bunch of big plays."

Already with a conference loss each, neither team wanted another; 0-2 would be a huge hill to climb toward a spot in the Pac-12 championship game.

Advantage: Arizona State.

USC looked good early, rolling over the Sun Devils on a pair of scoring drives in the first half. Davis capped the first with a 26-yard run and Madden the second with a 10-yard reception to put the Trojans up 14-7.

Not much went right after that.

USC closed the first half with a pair of turnovers — an interception on a ball that went off Lee's hands and a fumble by Madden — to set up Zane Gonzalez field goals.

Settling for field goals looked like it might hurt Arizona State when USC quickly marched down the field for a touchdown to open the third quarter.

Lee caught a 51-yard pass on the drive to pass Johnny Morton's school record of 3,201 career receiving yards, and Madden followed with a 24-yard touchdown run that put the Trojans up 21-20.

No worries for the quick-striking Sun Devils.

Kelly found Foster open over the middle on the next play — something the Trojans had trouble defending early in the game — and he raced off for a 74-yard touchdown.

Darby returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown against USC last season and made it two straight years with a pick-six, racing off for a 46-yarder after reading Kessler's eyes.

"It was kind of surreal to have a pick six last year and do it again," Darby said.

Arizona State kept the momentum rolling, moving quickly down the field for an 8-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to Grice that put the Sun Devils up 41-21. Grice followed with his third touchdown of the night, a 9-yard run off right tackle that put the Sun Devils up 48-21.

USC tried to rally, pulling within 48-34 on a 48-yard touchdown reception by Madden and Davis' 15-yard scoring run, but Grice put the game out of reach with his 28-yard scamper to the left pylon with just over 7 minutes left.

Worse yet, Lee, USC's All-American receiver, may be down for a while after having to be helped from the field by teammates.

"This one hurts," Kessler said. "I mean I feel that our offense played a pretty good game. There was definitely mistakes and turnovers that were there but we still should have put some more points up on the board."

It still might not have been enough the way the Sun Devils were rolling.


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