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ASU football: Offense shakes off ‘lackadaisical’ start in 45-14 win

(Photo: Allyson Cummings/WCSN)

The Arizona State offense racked up 570 yards of total offense on Thursday night against Weber State in a 45-14 victory. The team also found the end zone six times in the first three quarters, yet the performance fell short of the lofty expectations set for the Taylor Kelly-led offense.

While the Sun Devils certainly dominated their greatly overmatched opponent, a pooch punt on their first drive and a field goal on the subsequent drive raised some eyebrows.

“I thought we came out just a little lackadaisical,” running back D.J. Foster said. “We expect more from our drives than a punt and a field goal. That’s something we worked very hard on this offseason, we need six points, we need to score.”

After the sluggish start, Foster and the Sun Devils kicked it in gear, as he accumulated 147 yards rushing on the night, including three touchdowns.

“At the end of the day, we dominated a team we should dominate,” ASU head coach Todd Graham said. “I thought we missed some things early. Obviously, we won 45-14, but it should’ve been that at halftime and they probably shouldn’t have scored on us.”

At the heart of the early struggles for ASU were some miscues by Kelly, as the senior quarterback didn’t look as sharp as usual. While his 18-of-27 night was far from a poor showing, Kelly missed some throws early and zeroed in on wide receiver Jaelen Strong to bail him out a little too much for Graham’s liking.

“What we have to do is go out there and take what they give you,” Graham said. “I just think we came out a little too hyped, you can’t get hyped up. You have to come in poised, controlled and execute.”

With Kelly looking his way early and often, Strong managed to rack up 10 receptions for 146 yards before halftime. Strong has previously said he hopes to break the single season receiving yardage record set by Shaun McDonald in 2002 of 1,405 yards and got off to a strong start on Thursday night.

“Jaelen had a tremendous game,” Kelly said. “He’s a playmaker and he just has to keep getting better each week.”

With a trip to New Mexico coming next weekend for the Sun Devils, the step up in competition won’t be a steep one, as the Lobos finished 120th in scoring offense during the 2013 season. Still, there are areas that can be improved and that begins with the play of Kelly.

“Our tempo wasn’t there where it needed to be, but it started getting going in the second quarter,” Kelly said. “We did get off to a slow start in the beginning with a few overthrows by myself, so I think once we start getting things going, it’ll be a great season.”

Kickoff against New Mexico in Albuquerque is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT on Saturday, Sept. 6 and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

You can reach Adam Stites on Twitter @AdamStitesASU or by email

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