ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) D.J. Foster and Taylor Kelly left New Mexico behind – in a hurry.
Arizona State coach Todd Graham still saw a lot of room for improvement after the No. 17 Sun Devils’ 58-23 victory over the Lobos on Saturday night.
”Do I think we were sharp and hitting all cylinders, no,” Graham said. ”Were we better than last week? Markedly better than last week.”
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Foster ran for a career-high 216 yards to become the first Sun Devils back to top 200 yards since Delvon Flowers had 226 against Oregon State in 2001.
Kelly added 84 rushing yards from the quarterback position and Arizona State (2-0) had 423 yards on the ground – its most since 1996.
Kelly was 11 of 20 for 129 yards two touchdowns, both in the third quarter.
The Sun Devils took a 22-0 first-quarter lead behind rushing touchdowns from Deantre Lewis, Kelly and Kalen Ballage, who also had a scoring run in the second quarter.
And that actually have been a bit of a problem, Graham said.
”I thought our guys just thought we were just going to blow them out,” he said.
But when the Lobos (0-2), playing without injured starting quarterback Cole Gautsche, turned to redshirt freshman Lamar Jordan to replace an ineffective Clayton Mitchem, New Mexico got back in the game.
The Lobos pulled to 29-21 with 4:49 left in the second quarter, scoring on runs Jhurell Pressley, Teriyon Gipson and Crusoe Gongay. During that stretch, New Mexico’s Nik D’Avanzo recovered a fumble for the Lobos’ first defensive takeaway in eight games. Jordan finished with 130 yards passing and a touchdown.
Although Arizona State added a field goal just before half to lead 32-21, Lobos coach Bob Davie had high hopes for his team.
”At halftime, I thought we could win this game,” Davie said. ”I’m dead honest. But we just came out in the second half and couldn’t execute.”
That was the difference for Arizona State, Foster said, particularly up front.
”We had a great communication, great momentum and great vibes out there,” Foster said about the offensive line. ”It took me and my teammates a while to get going. We knew that we needed to get things going and I really depended on my line and they did a great job.”
Arizona State scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and New Mexico’s only two points in the second half came on a blocked extra point that Brandon Branch returned 98 yards.
The Sun Devils had 621 yards of total offense, with Cameron Smith adding four receptions for 77 yards and a score. Kelly added 192 passing yards and two touchdown passes.
Teriyon Gipson led New Mexico in rushing with 73 yards and also had four catches for 65 yards and a score.