D.J. Foster rushed for 216 yards and Taylor Kelly threw for two touchdowns as the Arizona State University football team posted a strong second half to rout New Mexico, 58-23, on Saturday evening in Albuquerque, N.M.
ASU outscored UNM 26-2 in the second half to overcome a sluggish end to the first and win its first non-conference road game since 2006 (21-3 over Colorado) and win its first road opener since 2007 (41-3 over Stanford).
Foster became the first Sun Devil player to rush for over 200 yards since Delvon Flowers had 226 against Oregon State in 2001. Foster’s 216 yards of rushing in the game was tied for the ninth-highest single-game total in ASU history.
Of the 20 all-time 200-yard rushing games in ASU history only three of them have occurred since 1994 following Foster’s effort.
Kelly finished the game 11-of-20 for 192 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, improving to 14-1 in games where he doesn’t throw a pick.
Cameron Smith had 77 yards on four catches and a touchdown to lead ASU’s receivers.
The Sun Devil defense had eight tackles for loss for the game and three takeaways after having none last week. ASU outscored the Lobos 21-7 on points off turnovers in the game while Damarious Randall led the team with 10 tackles, two TFLs and a forced fumble.
New Mexico was led by quarterback Lamar Jordan, who finished 7-for-11 for 130 yards and a touchdown along with 32 rushing yards. Teriyon Gipson had 73 rushing yards and 65 receiving yards with a touchdown.
For ASU head coach Todd Graham, it was the 20th win as the leader of the Sun Devils and he improved to 7-5 in road games and has now won four straight and eight of the last 13 on the road.
Following a lackluster end to the first half, the Sun Devils came out slinging in the second, taking just under two minutes to take the ball 75 yards – keyed by a 49-yard Foster rush on the first play from scrimmage – to take a 38-21 lead on a 24-yard reception by Jaelen Strong following a missed extra point.
ASU didn’t take long to take advantage of a UNM fumble on the ensuing drive as Kelly found Cameron Smith for a 41-yard bomb on the very next play for his first career touchdown reception and a 45-21 ASU lead.
It was Foster would seal the deal in the fourth quarter, as his 42-yard rush would set up his eventual one-yard touchdown rush to put ASU up 51-23 after UNM blocked the extra point attempt and returned it for a two-point conversion.
The Sun Devils blitzed the Lobos right out of the gates, driving 66 yards in five plans in 2:14 on their first drive of the game and capped things off with a Deantre Lewis one-yard touchdown. ASU showed some trickeration on the extra point attempt as Mike Bercovici handed the ball off to De’Marieya Nelson who found placekicker Zane Gonzalez in the corner of the end zone on a lob pass to give the Devils an 8-0 lead.
The Lobos then gifted ASU on back-to-back drives with two unforced fumbles in their own territory that the Sun Devils turned into short touchdown drives of 36 and 24 yards that were capped with touchdown rushes by Taylor Kelly and Kalen Ballage as ASU jumped out to a commanding 22-0 lead.
New Mexico answered in the tail end of the first quarter, using several big runs to drive 75 yards in eight plays to get on the board on an eight-yard Jhurell Pressley rush to make things 22-7 through one.
The Sun Devils answered on the ensuing drive, taking the ball 82 yards on 10 plays in 2:52 to jump back out to a 29-7 lead.
The Lobos would respond on their own with a 72 yard drive in four plays capped with the team’s first passing touchdown of the season – a 32-yard catch-and-run by Teriyon Gipson from Lamar Jordan to get back within 29-14. A Taylor Kelly fumble on the next Devil drive set the UNM up on the short field New Mexico took advantage on a five-yard Crusoe Gongbay touchdown rush to climb back with eight.
ASU was able to tack on a 29-yard Zane Gonzalez field goal to end the half and take a 32-21 lead into the break.
The Sun Devils return to action on the road next week to open Pac-12 play against Colorado in Boulder on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. PT on ESPNU.