ASU football’s three best offensive performances from last season

Senior running back Marion Grice carried the Sun Devil offense against No. 20 Wisconsin on Sept. 14. (Photo by Arianna Grainey)

Senior running back Marion Grice carried the Sun Devil offense against No. 20 Wisconsin on Sept. 14. (Photo by Arianna Grainey)

ASU football had no shortage of great performances from their star-studded offense last season. In no particular order, here are the three best outings a Sun Devil had last season for an offense that scored the second-most points in the Pac-12.

Redshirt junior quarterback Taylor Kelly against Washington State

Anytime a player accounts for seven touchdowns in one game, it usually puts him in these kinds of lists. Kelly threw for five touchdowns and ran it in himself for two more in a 55-21 thumping over the Cougars. Facing bowl eligibility with a win, Kelly scored the first of his two rushing scores on ASU’s first drive of the game and never looked back.

Kelly went 22-for-31 with 275 yards passing and five touchdowns, the one blemish being an interception thrown in the fourth quarter when the Sun Devils were already up by 31. He also made sure to get all his receivers involved, as eight different players caught at least one pass, and four of them scored at least one touchdown.

On top of all this, Kelly also scrambled for 66 rushing yards with those two touchdowns, both scored in the first quarter.

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jaelen Strong against Notre Dame

Strong has plenty of games to choose from as his best performance last season. His eight receptions for 136 yards and one touchdown in front of over 66,000 fans at AT&T; Stadium against the Fighting Irish stands out.

At that point in the season, Strong had eclipsed more than 100 receiving yards for three straight games, so Kelly made sure to get the ball to him often. Strong’s first two catches both went for first downs, and late in the second quarter, on fourth down, he caught a 36-yard touchdown pass to put ASU up 12-7.

A botched on-side kick with just seconds left in the game sealed the 37-34 victory for Notre Dame and spoiled an otherwise great day for Strong. Five of his eight receptions went for either a first down or a touchdown, and his 136 receiving yards were the most by any player in the game.

Senior running back Marion Grice against No. 20 Wisconsin

Grice put the team on his back. He scored all four touchdowns for the Sun Devils in the 32-30 upset win over the nationally ranked Badgers, including scoring twice in the fourth quarter. All four scores were on the ground, to go along with his 84 rushing yards against Wisconsin’s bruising defense.

Wisconsin’s defense would go on to only average 16.3 points last season, the sixth-best mark in the FBS. The Sun Devils, because of Grice, doubled that. Grice also caught five passes for 50 yards, including a crucial third down reception in the third quarter that extended what would become a scoring drive to cut the Wisconsin lead to two points.

It wasn’t the most yards Grice rushed for last season, not even by a long shot. Grice even had other four touchdown games. But given the competition and what the win meant for his team, Grice’s game against Wisconsin was his best of the season.

 

Reach the reporter at hkossodo@asu.edu or on Twitter @HKossodo