Power Ranking the Sun Devils’ Top Football Performances of 2012

Photo courtesy of ASU Athletics

Photo courtesy of ASU Athletics


Arizona State Football had a rough patch losing four straight to ranked teams in the Pac-12 Conference. Even with the losses, they posted flashes of brilliance in games that could have ended better for the Sun Devils.

I have compiled a comprehensive list of the best plays and performances of the 2012 season from the Arizona State University Sun Devils football team.

Prepare yourself for some hard hits, fabulous footwork and the best from Todd Graham’s debut season.

Week 1: Brandon Magee’s Pick 6

Magee_INTIn his first game back from a year-long hiatus due to injury, Brandon Magee intercepted Northern Arizona’s Chase Cartwright in the second quarter and ran it back 45 yards for the touchdown.

The Sun Devils went on to rout the Lumberjacks 63-6 as three running backs scored rushing touchdowns including three from Marion Grice, two from Cameron Marshall and one from D.J. Foster for his first-career touchdown.

Week 2: Michael Eubank’s 3 Touchdowns

Coming in for a couple drives in the second quarter, Arizona State backup quarterback Michael Eubank connected twice with tight end Chris Coyle to put the Sun Devils up 28-7 going into the half. He finished the game with a perfect 5-of-5 for 69 yards.

He came in late in the game and scampered for a seven yard touchdown sealing the victory at 45-14. He finished with seven carries for 36 yards.

Week 3: D.J. Foster’s Scramble

D.J. Foster, Matt HochWith the Sun Devils coming out flat in Columbia, they needed a boost, a breath of fresh air. That boost came from freshman running back D.J. Foster with two minutes and 40 seconds remaining in the first half with Arizona State trailing 17-0.

Foster breaks through the line, shakes off a defender and turns on the jets for a 33-yard touchdown.

Week 4: Taylor Kelly’s 326 Yards and 3 TD’s

Quarterback Taylor Kelly threw for two touchdowns in the first quarter and added a third just before halftime against the Utah Utes as the Sun Devils cruised to a 37-7 victory in week four.

Kelly set his career-high with 326 yards passing and three touchdowns and rushed for 19 yards as well. He averaged 12.5 yards per completion on 19-of-25 passing.

Week 5: Defensive Domination

Will Sutton had three sacks for 24 yards, eight tackles including four for a loss of 27 yards and a forced fumble.

Junior Onyeali had two sacks for 16 yards and three tackles including two for a loss of 16 yards.

Carl Bradford had a six-yard sack and seven tackles.

Alden Darby had four tackles and a fumble recovery.

Brandon Magee had eight tackles and a half-sack with Davon Coleman for four yards.

Keelan Johnson had nine total tackles.

Week 6: Rashad Ross 100-Yard Kickoff Return

rashadThis is the way that every second half should start.

After leading only 20-17 at halftime against the Colorado Buffaloes, Rashad Ross started the scoring spree on the opening kickoff of the second half that led to 31 straight points for Arizona State en route to a 51-17 thrashing.

Quarterback Taylor Kelly threw for a career-high five touchdowns on 308 yards passing, but it was the kickoff return that sparked the game.

Week 7: Will Sutton’s Forced Fumble

Arizona State was 5-1 going into this game vs. the No. 3 Oregon Ducks and they were pumped.

The stadium was blacked out and the Sun Devils were also decked out in all black including the first-ever appearance of the gold outlined pitchfork on black matte helmets.

The Sun Devils all-everything defensive tackle Will Sutton was smelling blood and on the Ducks second play from scrimmage, he broke up the hand-off from Marcus Mariota to Kenjon Barner allowing Davon Coleman to recover the football.

Quarterback Taylor Kelly struck immediately hitting Kevin Ozier for the 28-yard touchdown to shock the Oregon Ducks and electrify the Sun Devil crowd.

Week 8: Marion Grice’s 3rd 3-Touchdown Game

Arizona State started big in this game scoring the first 14 points before falling behind 20-17 at the half.

This shootout saw over a thousand yards of total offense as both Taylor Kelly and UCLA freshman signal caller Brett Hundley threw four touchdowns apiece.

The superstar of the game was Marion Grice who had 117 total yards (69 receiving and 48 rushing) and scored three touchdowns (two receiving and one rushing.)

This was Grice’s third of four three-touchdown games on the season.

Week 9: Sutton and Onyeali Shake Up Cody Vaz

sutton_vazOregon State quarterback Cody Vaz heard all about Arizona State’s defensive powerhouse Will Sutton returning from injury this week.

You can see how deathly afraid he was on this third down play on the Beavers’ opening drive when he basically drops the ball when he sees Sutton bearing down on him. Thankfully, Junior Onyeali was there to pick up the present left by Vaz to give the Sun Devils the early 7-0 lead.

Week 10: Alden Darby’s Pick 6

When Alden Darby picked off Matt Barkley early in the second quarter and ran it back 70 yards for the touchdown, there was much rejoicing.

The Sun Devils had lost three straight and were leading the No.19 team in the country. Little did they know that they would only manage three more points in the remaining 41 minutes of the game.

It was a definite high point in an otherwise disappointing game.

Week 11: The Dynamic Duo of Kelly and Eubank

The game was a blowout from the get-go with Arizona State securing the shut-out until the final minute of the game.

Quarterbacks Taylor Kelly threw for four touchdowns while Michael Eubank threw for one and also pushed one in from the 1-yard line.

The combination of the two sold signal callers provided all the scoring after the initial field goal.

Week 12 Part 1: Marion Grice

Marion Grice scored three time in his first Territorial Cup in Tucson. He finished with a career-high rushing night with 156 yards on 18 carries. He finally got Arizona State on the board with 10 minutes left in the half on this 52-yard run from scrimmage.

Week 12 Part 2: Kevin Ayers Blocked Punt

With the scored knotted at 27 apiece and the Arizona Wildcats punting from deep in their own territory, Kevin Ayers came through on the biggest play of his career. This led to a Cameron Marshall 8-yard touchdown to put the Sun Devils up 34-27.

Week 12 Part 3: Robert Nelson Near Pick 6

nelsonWith 3:30 remaining in the game and Arizona trailing by seven, Matt Scott threw another ill-advised pass on 4th-and-6 that was tipped right into the waiting hands of Robert Nelson.

Nelson fought off several would-be tacklers and got a crucial block from Davon Coleman on quarterback Scott before finally being brought down at the Arizona 1-yard line. Michael Eubank pushed another touchdown in from there.

It is only fitting that the Sun Devils have the biggest game when it truly mattered. This team has Sun Devil Nation excited for the future and I hope to see many more great plays in San Francisco for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29 and for many years to come.

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