Arizona State rolls past Stanford, 26-10Posted: Updated:
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Mike Bercovici threw for 242 yards and a touchdown, Zane Gonzalez kicked four second-half field goals and No. 17 Arizona State cleared a big hurdle by running past No. 23 Stanford, 26-10 on Saturday night.
The Cardinal had become a nemesis of sorts for Arizona State, powering past the Sun Devils in two games last season, including a dominating win in the Pac-12 Championship game.
Arizona State (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) turned the tables against Stanford with an efficient performance on both sides of the ball.
The Sun Devils scored the most points allowed by the nation's top-rated defense behind a nice mix of run and pass, while its defense refused to get pushed around by bigger Cardinal up front.
Stanford (4-3, 2-2) labored offensively again and nearly tripled its nation-leading average of 10 points allowed per game on defense.
The Cardinal were shut out in the first half for the first time in 87 games and had 288 total yards against a defense that has struggled this season.
Arizona State, like so many other teams, had trouble matching up with Stanford's size and physicality in the two games last season, including a disheartening 38-14 home loss in the conference title game.
The Sun Devils figured to have their hands full again with nine new defensive starters in a unit that gives up 31.2 points - 62 in a home loss to UCLA - and 452.6 yards per game.
Instead, Arizona State dominated Stanford's offense from the start, holding the Cardinal to 69 total yards, including five rushing on 11 carries.
Stanford had one sustained drive in the first half, reaching ASU's 35, but was forced to punt when cornerback Lloyd Carrington raced in from the edge and sacked Kevin Hogan for 10-yard loss.
The Cardinal didn't threaten again and were held scoreless in the first half for the first time since 2007 against Washington State.
Arizona State's offense started off by trying to establish the run early, handing it off on 17 of the first 24 plays.
That set up the pass and Arizona State sprinkled it in during a Stanford-esque drive that went 81 yards in 14 plays capped by D.J. Foster's 1-yard dive.
Stanford's Ty Montgomery, who has given Arizona State trouble in the past, instead gave the Sun Devils a gift late in the second quarter, when he tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch on a punt and muffed it.
Arizona State recovered at Stanford's 12 and Bercovici found Jaelen Strong four plays later on a 3-yard touchdown pass that put the Sun Devils up 14-0.
Stanford finally found a spark on offense early in the third quarter with an ASU-like drive, moving 63 yards in five plays for Patrick Skov's 1-yard touchdown run that cut it to 20-10.
The Cardinal would get no closer.
Gonzalez kicked a 25-yard field goal and sealed the win with another from 31 yards after Stanford's Christian McCaffrey lost a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.