TEMPE, Ariz. — The schedule about to get a whole lot tougher, the last thing Arizona State wanted in its opening game was to play poorly or, worse yet, lose to a lower-division opponent.
The Sun Devils put away any concern about a letdown by racing out to a big lead and coasting to the finish.
Taylor Kelly threw for 300 yards and matched a career high with five touchdown passes before sitting out most of the second half, helping Arizona State open its second season under coach Todd Graham with a 55-0 rout over Sacramento State on Thursday night.
“We did just what we wanted to do,” Graham said. “It wasn’t real exciting in the second half, but it was a team we should have dominated and did.”
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The Sun Devils opened with a 63-6 victory over Northern Arizona in 2012 and quickly took care of another FCS opponent to start this season, scoring on their first five possessions while building a 42-0 halftime lead.
Arizona State had 523 total yards and Kelly spread it around before sitting down, hitting five different receivers for touchdowns.
Marion Grice picked up where he left off from his stellar first season in the desert, catching a touchdown pass, running for another score and finishing with 127 total yards in a little over a half.
And, after a rough opening drive, Arizona State’s defense tightened up, finishing with its first shutout since a 42-0 win against Washington State in 2010.
Despite being one of two FCS teams to beat an FBS opponent each of the previous two seasons, Sacramento State (0-2) never stood much of a chance. The Hornets finished with 167 total yards and three turnovers.
EUGENE, Ore. — De’Anthony Thomas is an enigma, and No. 2 Oregon would like to keep it that way.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound running back can confound defenses with his versatility and speed. The trick for the Ducks is to manage Thomas on the field so as to keep opponents guessing while not over-taxing him.
“He’s a guy who will do anything,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “We obviously need to sometimes pick our spots or be smart with him. But he’s — knock on wood — been a tough guy, a durable guy.”
During Oregon’s season-opening 66-3 rout of Nicholls State, Thomas rushed for 128 yards and two TDs on a career-high 18 carries.
On Saturday, Oregon visits Virginia, which came from behind to beat Brigham Young 19-16 last week.
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