The Sun Devils returned to Tempe this week and did what they have done all season in Sun Devil Stadium– win.
And it wasn’t just a win, it was a blowout win as ASU obliterated Colorado (2-3, 0-3 Pac-12) in all phases of the game. The Sun Devils scored 54 points and gained 532 yards on offense while allowing just 13 points and 268 yards to a CU team that came in averaging more than 400 yards of offense this season.
ASU (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) is now 4-0 in Sun Devil Stadium this season and 8-2 at home under coach Todd Graham. The Sun Devils, who have scored more than 40 points in seven of 10 home games under Graham, have outscored their opponents by 119 points at home this year and are averaging just over 533 yards of offense when playing at Sun Devil Stadium.
“The plan is, you want to be conference champions, you have to be undefeated at home,” Graham said. “I’m really proud of our guys and how they performed.”
Graham did not understate how important winning at home is. He gave special attention to next week’s matchup with Washington, calling it a must-win game.
Graham said this is the first time in his coaching career that he has been able to sit the starters for the whole second half. He said redshirt senior defensive tackle Will Sutton approached him just after the big win to say that the team must begin focusing on next week’s opponent, Washington.
“That hasn’t happened before, they are usually celebrating the win,” Graham said. “These guys are thinking ahead, and they are mature.”
Graham also said the Sun Devils must figure out how to win on the road, as he thinks the Pac-12 South is a “single elimination tournament.” Both of ASU’s Pac-12 wins this season have been against division opponents.
The road is where the Sun Devils have run into problems, though. They are 0-2 away from Tempe this season, and are 4-5 under Graham. Specifically, redshirt junior quarterback Taylor Kelly has struggled in road games.
Kelly, who has thrown four interceptions in two road games as opposed to two interceptions in four home games, only needed nine completions in just one half of football to throw for 233 yards and two touchdowns and did not play in the second half because ASU was up 47-6 at halftime.
Kelly said he was pleased with tonight’s outcome, but said the team must have more focus to translate its successes at home to games on the road.
“The traveling, going on airplanes, and being in a new environment is hard for our team to experience,” Kelly said. “We’re doing a better job of it and our maturity level is the big thing for us.”
But first things first: ASU took care of business at home.
Redshirt junior linebacker Carl Bradford, who had 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss on the night, said ASU had a great week of preparation in practice and that the team knew it needed to step up at home this week. Bradford said the team has to work on making the road feel more like home.
“We don’t lose at home,” Bradford said. “I think we need to take that same mentality into other opponents fields and make that our home as well, no matter who it is. This is the Sun Devils’ field when we step on it.”
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