You couldn’t have scripted Todd Graham’s Arizona State debut any better.
The Sun Devils (1-0) started fast before coasting to a 63-6 blowout of Northern Arizona University on Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium.
The victory was reminiscent of one of Graham’s favorite catchphrases which has become popular with the Sun Devil Nation, as well as the local media:
“Left lane, hammer down!”
The Lumberjacks (0-1) never had a chance, falling behind 42-0 at halftime after ASU exploded for 28 second quarter points.
“Obviously I give praise to my team. I was really proud of them,” Graham said after the game. “I told our fans that we would represent them with class, character, and toughness. I thought they did that. We prepared hard and they worked hard. There¹s been an awful lot of change and I’ve asked them to trust me. They did that.”
Senior running back Cameron Marshall capped a nine-play, 73-yard scoring drive when he took it in from nine yards on the opening possession. Recently named sophomore starting quarterback Taylor Kelly looked sharp completing 4-5 passes and also adding a nine-yard scramble on 3rd and 6 to keep the drive alive. Kelly finished the night an efficient 15-19 247 yards and no interceptions. He added 43 on the ground on just six carries.
Marshall and freshman sensation D.J. Foster (eight carries, 67 yards) followed with short touchdown runs before senior linebacker Brandon Magee stepped in front of a Cary Grossart errant throw and rumbled 45 yards down the ASU sideline making it 27-0 and putting the game away less than two minutes into the second quarter.
“I just jumped and he threw me the ball and I ran with it,” a smiling Magee said. “I ran it to
the end zone just like I¹d been there before.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Eubank, who Graham promised would get significant playing time in certain packages, got in on the scoring frenzy diving across the goal line from a yard out two plays after safety Alden Darby picked off NAU back-up QB Chase Cartwright and returned it deep into Lumberjack territory.
NAU had no answer for ASU’s spread offense after the half as Kelly continued to hurt the ‘Jacks with his arm, as well as his feet. Highly touted junior college transfer Marion Grice made is 55-6 early in the fourth quarter with his second rushing touchdown of the night. He capped off the scoring for ASU carrying seven straight plays before hitting the touchdown trifecta scoring from four yards out making it 62-6. He finished with a game-high 107 yards on 14 carries.
Kelly said Graham believes the Sun Devils are far from a finished product.
“He thought we were a little slow tonight and we need to keep working on that and progressing throughout the season.”
ASU looks to stay perfect when they host Illinois Saturday, September 8.