Graham faults coaches for No. 16 ASU’s loss

Arizona State coach Todd Graham was emphatic – he and his

assistants didn’t do their jobs leading up to the Holiday Bowl.

”I apologized to our players. We didn’t have them prepared to

play, but don’t take anything away from Texas Tech,” Graham said

after the No. 16 Sun Devils lost 37-23 to the Red Raiders on Monday

night.

Freshman quarterback Davis Webb threw for 403 yards and tied the

Holiday Bowl record with four touchdown passes as Texas Tech

snapped a five-game losing streak.

Webb tied the mark set by BYU’s Jim McMahon in 1980 and matched

by Kansas State’s Brian Kavanagh in 1995 and Texas’ Major

Applewhite in 2001.

The Red Raiders (8-5) won for the first time since beating West

Virginia on Oct. 19. Arizona State (10-4) lost its second

straight.

The Sun Devils, coming off a 38-14 loss to Stanford in the

Pac-12 championship game, were held 18 points below their average.

They dropped to 0-4 in the Holiday Bowl dating to 1985.

”I thought we played poorly in the last two games,” Graham

said. ”You know what? It’s not the players’ fault. That’s why they

hire coaches, to get your guys ready to play. We didn’t get our

guys ready to play and on the other hand, the other team did. One

of the things I believe in is great sportsmanship, and you get your

tail whipped, you congratulate the other team, the other coach.

”It was the best bowl experience that I’ve ever had up until

today, and one of the worst ones I had today.”

Arizona State’s players took the blame, too.

”You can say what you want about the coaching, but we’re the

ones on the field playing,” safety Alden Darby said. ”We’re the

ones making the plays.”

Webb completed 28 of 41 passes. He threw touchdown passes of 18

and 21 yards to Jakeem Grant, 1 yard to Rodney Hall and 23 yards to

Bradley Marquez, all in the first half.

After losing their final five games by an average of 20.6

points, the Red Raiders scored on four of their first five drives

to take a 27-6 lead 5 minutes into the second quarter.

Texas Tech All-America tight end Jace Amaro had eight catches

for 112 yards. He set the FBS single-season record for yards

receiving by a tight end with 1,352.

While Texas Tech was finding the end zone early on, Arizona

State had to settle for field goals of 44 and 31 yards by Zane

Gonzalez.

The Sun Devils got their first touchdown when D.J. Foster scored

on a 20-yard run with 7:52 left in the second quarter to close to

27-13. ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly scored on a 44-yard run early

in the third, but Reginald Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 90

yards for a touchdown to extend the Red Raiders’ lead to 34-20.

Kelly gained 135 yards on 25 carries but threw for only 125

yards, going 16 of 29. He was sacked three times. Foster gained 132

yards on 20 carries.

Arizona State’s Richard Smith couldn’t hold onto a 50-yard pass

from Kelly as he tripped and tumbled into the end zone with 9:50

left and the Sun Devils trailing by 14.

”That’s hard for our seniors, to end on two losses, but we had

a great energy the week of practice, preparation, I think, and guys

were ready for this game,” Kelly said. ”We just didn’t execute.

Texas Tech did a great job of preparing.”