ASU pulls away from USC with huge second half
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Marion Grice scored four touchdowns, two on passes from Taylor Kelly, and Arizona State used consecutive big plays in the third quarter to race past USC 62-41 on Saturday night.
Arizona State (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) trailed by a point after USC opened the third quarter with a quick scoring drive. But the Sun Devils ran away from the Trojans after that, scoring a pair of touchdowns 47 seconds apart.
Kelly orchestrated the first, hitting D.J. Foster in stride for a 74-yard touchdown pass. Alden Darby was next, stepping in front of a pass from Cody Kessler for a 46-yard interception return that put the Sun Devils up 34-21.
Tre Madden and Justin Davis each scored three touchdowns for USC (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12).
It wasn't nearly enough with Arizona State piling up yards while scoring its most points ever against USC and matching the most ever scored against the storied program.
Behind Kelly and Grice, the Sun Devils racked up 612 total yards against a defense that had not allowed more than 285 yards or 14 points this season. USC allowed 479 yards in its previous two games combined.
The nation's scoring leader coming in, Grice pushed his touchdown total to 12 -- 18 the past seven games over two seasons -- with catches of 11 and 8 yards along with runs of 9 and 28 yards.
Kelly completed 23 of 34 passes for 351 yards.
Madden had 194 total yards, with two touchdowns receiving, and Davis had 122 yards and three scores on the ground.
Kessler threw for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Marqise Lee became USC's career yards receiving leader after catching seven passes for 92 yards.
Already with a conference loss each, neither team wanted another; 0-2 would be a huge hill to climb toward a spot in the Pac-12 championship game. Advantage, Arizona State.
The Trojans looked good early, rolling over the Sun Devils on a pair of scoring drives in the first half. Davis capped the first with a 26-yard run and Madden the second with a 10-yard reception to put USC up 14-7.
Not much went right after that. USC closed the first half with a pair of turnovers -- an interception on a ball that went off Lee's hands and a fumble by Madden -- to set up Zane Gonzalez field goals.
Settling for field goals looked like it might hurt ASU when USC quickly marched down the field for a touchdown to open the third quarter. Lee caught a 51-yard pass on the drive to pass Johnny Morton's school record of 3,201 career receiving yards, and Madden followed with a 24-yard touchdown run that put the Trojans up 21-20.
No worries for the quick-striking Sun Devils. Kelly found Foster open over the middle on the next play -- something the Trojans had trouble defending early in the game -- and he raced off for a 74-yard touchdown.
Darby returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown against USC last season and made it two straight years with a pick six in this one, racing off for a 46-yarder after reading Kessler's eyes on a throw to the sideline.
Arizona State kept the momentum rolling, moving quickly down the field for an 8-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to Grice that put the Sun Devils up 41-21. Grice followed with his third touchdown of the night, a 9-yard run off right tackle that put ASU up 48-21.
USC tried to rally, pulling within 48-34 on a 48-yard touchdown reception by Madden and Davis' 15-yard scoring run, but Grice put the game out of reach with his 28-yard scamper to the left pylon with just over 7 minutes left.