Many college football analysts gave Arizona State a good chance of beating USC on Saturday. But not one of the “talking heads” could have foreseen the devastating defeat the Trojans would suffer at the hands of the Sun Devils.
Strong performances by both the ASU offense and defense turned an initially close game into a 62-41 rout at Sun Devil Stadium. It was the first time in history the ASU football program has scored more than 50 points against USC.
Here are five major reasons the Sun Devils beat the Trojans so convincingly:
1. ASU fans showed up and were loud the entire game
More than 64,000 Sun Devil faithful were on hand for Arizona State’s game with USC. While not a sellout, it was a good showing for a team coming off a major setback in conference play. And for the third consecutive home game ASU set a record for student tickets sold: 14,118. This beat the record of 13,827 set vs. Wisconsin and is the first time in ASU history that it has sold over 14,000 student tickets to a football game.
2. Todd Graham has the winning touch
Call it good preparation, great coaching or even a little luck, but with its win against USC, ASU improved to 10-0 under Todd Graham when leading at halftime. This is a key stat, since it demonstrates the importance of starting fast and keeping your foot on the gas against every opponent.
3. ASU’s offensive machine was in high gear
The Sun Devils scored 62 points against the Trojans, the most points it has ever put up against the Men of Troy. It also ties for second-most points scored by ASU in Pac-10/12 competition. The most they have ever put up is 65 points in a win against Stanford in 2002. The Sun Devils also posted 612 yards of total offense, the most in a conference game since racking up 667 yards against Oregon in 2000.
4. Marion Grice continues to be a workhorse
Marion Grice clearly has a nose for the end zone. With four touchdowns against USC, he now has scored 12 touchdowns (eight rushing, four receiving) through four games. Grice has amassed 18 touchdowns (13 rushing, five receiving) over the last seven games.
5. Taylor Kelly has shown he’s the real deal
Taylor Kelly is putting any skepticism about his passing abilities to rest. He passed for 351 yards on the vaunted Trojan defense, the highest by any ASU quarterback in the ASU-USC series. Just ask Lane Kiffin: Kelly was almost unstoppable on Saturday night.