Stanford came into this game with some of the best defensive stats in the country, but Arizona State was the team who executed most effectively on that side of the ball.
The Sun Devils move to 5-1 overall, 3-1 in the Pac-12, keeping them in the giant group of one-loss teams in the Pac-12 South. Stanford falls to 4-3 overall, and just 2-2 in conference play.
The Cardinal could never get anything going offensively against a stout Sun Devils defense. Stanford managed to move the chains just fourteen times, and mustered only 76 yards rushing. That is ASU channeling their inner-Stanford and taking it to the Cardinal offensive line.
Stanford QB Kevin Hogan struggled to complete passes on the night as well, going 19-of-39 for 212 yards. Ty Montgomery brought in six of those balls for 82 yards, but was unable to find the endzone. Stanford’s only touchdown came early in the fourth quarter when senior fullback Patrick Skov ran it in from one-yard out.
Heading into the game, there were whispers that ASU senior QB Taylor Kelly would make his triumphant return after missing the last two games with a foot injury, but that was not the case. Mike Bercovici made his third consecutive start for Todd Graham’s squad, and continued to find success. Bercovici went 23-of-33 for 245 yards, including a three-yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong to make the score 14-0 ASU just before halftime.
While there were no points scored in the first quarter from either team, it was pretty obvious that ASU was having their way with Stanford. D.J. Foster scored the game’s first points with a one-yard run into the endzone halfway into the second quarter, and the Sun Devils never looked back.
Stanford kicked a field goal early in the third quarter, but ASU answered right back with a field goal of their own to keep the margin at 14 points. After the Skov touchdown, the score was 20-10 and Stanford looked like they might have a chance, considering how good their defense has been this year. The Sun Devils kicked another field goal to make it 23-10, and on the ensuing kickoff, Stanford returner Christian McCaffrey put the ball on the ground. ASU recovered its second fumble of the night and wrapped up the win.
Stanford is by no means out of the hunt for the Pac-12 North Championship. At 2-2, they are the only team currently at .500 or better in the division besides the Oregon Ducks, who currently sit at 3-1. ASU finds itself squarely in the mix for the Pac-12 North title, especially with their huge win against USC as a potential tiebreaker. Sun Devils’ fans could not have asked for much more, considering they would be without their starting quarterback for this many games.
Next week, Arizona State travels northwest to take on the Washington Huskies. Stanford returns home for a visit from the Oregon State Beavers.
*Section Photo and Featured Photo (above) credit to Christian Petersen, Getty Images.