2013 ─ Graham Goes Back-to-Back
The “year of the selfie” was also another year of progress for a Sun Devil team that returned key starters on the offensive side of the ball. These starters included junior Taylor Kelly, sophomore and eventual pro running back Grice, and a new face at receiver in Jaelen Strong who made just a few unforgettable catches during his tenure.
While the world is engulfed with selfies and the reaction to the Notre Dame scandal for now-middle linebacker of the New Orleans Saints, Manti Te’o, and his fake girlfriend, the Sun Devils were producing a Pac-12 title contender.
After a 3-2 start to the season, ASU reeled off six straight wins heading into their matchup against U of A. The experienced offense scored 50 or more points in almost half their games while limiting opponents to under 20 points four times on the year.
On the flip side, U of A heads into the matchup at a record of 7-4 led by a mostly new offense with sophomore quarterback B.J. Denker at the helm.
The sophomore would struggle early and often against a difficult ASU secondary, as he threw three of his season’s seven interceptions in the matchup alone as the Sun Devils cruised to a 58-21 victory. Denker turned the ball over four times with the three interceptions and a fumble, including both an interception and fumble being returned for touchdowns.
Strong makes a strong first impression in his first Territorial Cup with four receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown, including a 61-yard strike from Kelly.
Following the victory, the Sun Devils would compete in the Pac-12 title game against Stanford, losing to the Cardinal for the second time on the season 38-14.
The 10-win season would end on a sour note as Davis Webb of Texas Tech carved up ASU’s secondary in route to four passing touchdowns and a 37-23 Holiday Bowl victory.
Following the impressive season and a No. 21 ranking in the AP Poll, Graham received the 2013 Pac-12 Coach of the Year Award for his efforts.