Coverage: Pac-12 Network
3:00 PM ET, November 17, 2012
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Taylor Kelly, Michael Eubank help Arizona State become bowl eligible
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Quarterbacks Taylor Kelly and Michael Eubank accounted for six touchdowns Saturday, and Arizona State became bowl eligible with a 46-7 rout over Washington State that ended the Sun Devils' four-game losing streak.
Arizona State (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) had failed in four tries to become bowl eligible, bogging down against some of the best teams in the conference.
The Sun Devils finally broke through behind their quarterbacks and a resurgent defense that turned Washington State's Air Raid offense into Air Dud.
Kelly threw for four touchdowns and Eubank had one each on the ground and through the air. Arizona State's defense forced two turnovers in the first half and Chris Coyle had a pair of touchdown catches to put the Sun Devils up 32-0 in their final home game of the season.
Washington State (2-9, 0-8) capped a tumultuous week with a disappointing performance.
Trying to fight the distraction of star receiver Marquess Wilson's acrimonious split with the team, the Cougars came out flat and were run over from the start.
Washington State's defense allowed 561 total yards and its offense got no support from the running game, which produced 1 yard on 19 carries.
Kelly had struggled as teams closed in on the Sun Devils' running game, throwing seven interceptions during the four-game losing streak.
The sophomore overthrew a couple of receivers early against Washington State, but was at his just-make-it-happen best on Arizona State's second drive, flipping a short pass that Rashad Ross turned into a 15-yard touchdown.
Kelly used a hard pump fake to get Washington State's defense to come in on the next drive, leaving Coyle wide open for an 18-yard touchdown catch. Kelly added a 17-yard TD pass in the second quarter, though Marion Grice did most of the work, racing through what seemed like all of Washington State's defense on his way to the end zone to put the Sun Devils up 25-0.
Eubank got in on the action next, following an interception by Keelan Johnson with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Coyle in the second quarter, then opened the third by scoring on a 1-yard dive.
Kelly added another score late in the third quarter, scrambling long enough to find Ross for a 31-yard touchdown that put Arizona State up 46-0.
Kelly threw for 246 yards on 20 of 23 passing, while Eubank was 7 for 9 for 55 yards.
The big day by Arizona State's quarterbacks added to Washington State's misery in what has been a rough first season under Mike Leach.
After opening with a pair of wins in their first three nonconference games, the Cougars struggled once the Pac-12 season started, losing their first seven games.
It got worse last week when Wilson quit the team, saying the coaches had physically, mentally and verbally abused him.
Leach denied the allegations, just as he did at Texas Tech, where he was fired in 2009 after being accused of abusing a player.
The Cougars vowed not to let Wilson's accusations become a distraction.
They didn't play like it.
Washington State ended its first fruitless drive by bouncing a snap on a punt, setting up Arizona State for a 21-yard field goal. The Cougars didn't get much better from there, managing more punts than first downs (5-4) at one point of the first half while Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday each threw interceptions.
The Pac-12's passing leader, Washington State had 240 yards passing -- 137 below its season average.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||1-16||7-17|
|4th Down Conversions||1-4||1-3|
|FG||11:46||Jon Mora 21 Yd||0||3|
|TD||08:27||Rashad Ross 15 Yd Pass From Taylor Kelly (Cameron Marshall Run For Two-Point Conversion)||0||11|
|TD||02:09||Chris Coyle 18 Yd Pass From Taylor Kelly (Alex Garoutte Kick)||0||18|
|TD||06:19||Marion Grice 17 Yd Pass From Taylor Kelly (Alex Garoutte Kick)||0||25|
|TD||03:57||Chris Coyle 29 Yd Pass From Michael Eubank (Alex Garoutte Kick)||0||32|
|TD||08:42||Michael Eubank 1 Yd Run (Alex Garoutte Kick)||0||39|
|TD||03:13||Rashad Ross 31 Yd Pass From Taylor Kelly (Alex Garoutte Kick)||0||46|
|TD||00:57||Kristoff Williams 54 Yd Pass From Connor Halliday (Andrew Furney Kick)||7||46|