The Arizona State Sun Devils opened the season with a dominating performance, shutting out FCS opponent Sacramento State 55-0 on Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium.
It was over when: The Sun Devils finally got the ball in the first quarter. After Sacramento State marched 59 yards on 16 plays in just under eight minutes to start the game, Robert Nelson blocked the field goal attempt. Arizona State responded with an 11-play touchdown drive and the rout was on.
Player of the Game: Taylor Kelly tied a career-high with five touchdown passes, completing 23 of 31 attempts for 300 yards. The junior was crisp from the beginning, completing several long passes down the middle of the field for touchdowns.
Biggest Concern: Starting weakside linebacker Chris Young left the game in the second quarter with a left leg injury. He walked to the locker room, but appeared to be in serious pain. No official update has been given, but he did not return to the game. Young is replacing Brandon Magee and was expected to be the leader of the Arizona State linebacking corps this season. Losing him would be a disaster this early in the year.
Unsung Hero: De’Marieya Nelson was all over the place for the Sun Devils, catching a long touchdown, rushing the ball out of the backfield and throwing a mean block on a third-quarter Michael Eubank scramble and score. Oh yeah, he also had the first tackle on special teams.
Stat of the Game: The Sun Devils didn’t allow a first down in the first half after the opening drive. Eight Sacramento State possessions, eight drives without moving the chains. That’s an impressive response by the Sun Devils defense.
What’s Next? The Sun Devils welcome Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin into Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14. Arizona State can only hope it’s as hot then as it was tonight at kickoff.