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
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
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
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.”