Sun Devils take one step closer to Pac-12 Championship Game with shut down … – Tucson Citizen
TEMPE, AZ – NOVEMBER 16: Wide receiver Richard Mullaney #8 of the Oregon State Beavers is dragged down by Robert Nelson #9 of the Arizona State Sun Devils during the third quarter of their college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Tempe, Ariz.– Arizona State’s defense intercepted Sean Mannion four times and Marion Grice ran for two touchdowns as they overwhelmed the Oregon State Beavers 30-17.
The Sun Devils got going early on their first drive of the game, marching all the way down the field on a nine play 75 yard scoring drive. The drive was capped off by a one yard Marion Grice touchdown run that gave the Sun Devils a 7-0 lead right out of the gate. The touchdown marked Grice’s 19th of the year, surpassing his team leading 18 touchdowns he scored last year.
Following the touchdown, the first quarter was dominated by sloppy play from both offenses. Kelly threw interceptions and back too back drives for Arizona State, while on the other side Mannion threw an interception of his own while the Beavers were held scoreless.
Arizona State’s offense bounced back late in the first though as they went off for an eight play 85 yard scoring drive that resulted in an eight yard touchdown from DJ Foster. The touchdown put the Sun Devils up 13-0 after the PAT was blocked. Then piled it on some more half way through the second quarter with another 1 yard touchdown run following a muffed Oregon State punt that put the Sun Devils on the Beavers 15.
Oregon State was able to finally get a last second field goal in from Trevor Romaine too make it 20-3 heading into halftime, after the Beavers converted on a 4th and 12 too put themselves in field goal range right before the half.
In the third Oregon St was able to make it a ball game as they went on a 12 play 96 yard scoring drive in which Mannion connected with Caleb Smith to make it 20-1o, Arizona State. The possession ate up six minutes of clock time for Oregon State and resulted in the Beavers first touchdown of the game.
Arizona State was slow to get going in the second half, being held scoreless in the fourth quarter. However, in the fourth they were able to add on a 18-yard field goal from Zane Gonzales and the Nelson pick-six to close out the game.
Following suit of last week’s win against Utah, the defense shined tonight for the Sun Devils. They held the Pac-12′s third ranked scoring offense to a mere 17 points and picked off the nation’s leading passer four separate times. Coming into the game, Mannion threw only six interceptions all season.
Sun Devil safety Robert Nelson had two picks including one he returned for the touchdown that sealed the Beaver’s fate late in the fourth quarter. Graham called Nelson the games “MVP” and added, “When he see’s the ball he is very gifted.”
Graham also spoke very highly of the group as a whole.
“The best coverage team I have ever coached is this team,” Graham said. “These guys see the ball come out of the quarterbacks hand and are tremendous and can go get it.”
The offense may have not played at their best again tonight, but they did just enough to put the game out of reach for Oregon State.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly completed 22 of 37 pass for 183 yards and overcame two early interceptions in the first quarter to lead the team to victory. Kelly was also held out of the end zone for the first time all season.
Marion Grice rushed for 119 yards on 24 carries while scoring two touchdowns. His two touchdowns put him at 2o on the year, surpassing his team leading 18 total last year.
After being held back by an ankle injury in the recent weeks, it seemed like wide receiver Jaelen Strong was back to playing like himself again as well. Strong had seven receptions for a total of 106 yards and for the first time in a while was able to connect with Kelly on that back shoulder fade that he made a name for himself with at the beginning of the season.
Arizona State now needs to win against UCLA on the road next week to clinch the Pac-12 South, that win will not come easy though as they have to go and play the No.13 Bruins, who are coming off a big win against Washington friday night.
As it has been mentioned many times, Arizona State controls their own destiny heading into the seasons last two games and heading into next week, the stakes have never been higher in the Pac-12 South for the Sun Devils.
This entry was posted on Sunday, November 17th, 2013 at 12:19 am and is filed under Arizona State Sun Devils. Tags for this post: Caleb Smith, D.J. Foster, Marion Grice, Robert Nelson, Sean Mannion, Taylor Kelly, Zane Gonzales. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.