Final: Arizona State 27, California 17

September, 29, 2012
9/29/12
8:12
PM ET
Arizona State turned in a clean, workmanlike performance on both sides of the ball while beating California 27-17, and it seems likely the Sun Devils are headed back into the national rankings.

And they look like a team with the potential to stay there in coach Todd Graham's first season, which now includes the program's first win in Berkeley since 1997.

In their lone defeat at Missouri, the Sun Devils (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) were unable to produce on the road the efficient game they showcased at home. This time, they turned in a mature performance in a venue that had previously been poison to them.

Meanwhile, Cal fell to 1-4 and 0-2. The chirping in Berkeley about coach Jeff Tedford won't be quieted by this performance. Cal won at Arizona State last season, scoring 47 points on the road. The Golden Bears managed just 285 yards at home Saturday, with senior quarterback Zach Maynard completing just 9 of 28 for 126 yards with a touchdown.

In contrast, Sun Devils first-year starter Taylor Kelly, a sophomore, completed 26 of 45 for 292 yards with three TDs and no interceptions. He entered the game leading the conference in passing efficiency and that probably won't change.

Recall the penalty-laden ASU teams of the past? The Sun Devils had just two penalties for 20 yards, while Cal had 12 for 119 yards. The Sun Devils had no turnovers, while Cal had one.

The only downer for ASU? Kicker Alex Garoutte was 2-of-5 on field goals.

It was a complete performance on the road. It was a decisive win. And it was another check off the program's things to do list.

The Sun Devils are off next week and then they visit struggling Colorado on Oct. 11. Next comes Oregon on Oct. 18, a Thursday night ESPN game that suddenly looks like it will raise a few eyebrows nationally.

Ted Miller | email

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