Sunday, September 9, 2012
Arizona State rolls over Illinois
By Ted Miller
Two games into the Todd Graham era at Arizona State, and it's difficult to imagine things looking more impressive.
It's not just that the Sun Devils improved to 2-0 with a dominant 45-14 win over Illinois, it's that they are playing smart, disciplined football.
And, yes, Graham has noticed and is pleased.
"I feel like this was a big test for us, going up against a Big Ten team, and a very strong one at that," he said. "We went out and dominated them. I love the way our guys are playing disciplined. Our goal was zero penalties, and the only person who got a penalty was me, and we took a delay so we could back the punt up a little bit."
That's right: Arizona State was flagged for one penalty for 5 yards, and it was drawn on purpose.
As for dominant, the Sun Devils scored touchdowns on four of their six first-half possessions. On a fifth, they fumbled on the 1-yard line.
Arizona State completed its first 14 passes, 10 by starter Taylor Kelly and four by backup Michael Eubank. Kelly completed 18-of-24 for 249 yards and a TD with no interceptions, while Eubank completed 5-of-5 for 69 yards with two scores. Eubank also ran for a TD.
The Sun Devils outgained Illinois 510 yards to 332.
While Illinois was without quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who was sidelined with an ankle injury, it was still an impressive performance on both sides of the ball.
The Sun Devils will take to the road next weekend, visiting new SEC member Missouri, a team the Sun Devils beat last year.