SAN DIEGO – The Arizona State University football team was unable to climb back from a 21-point first half deficit as the Sun Devils fell to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, 37-23, in the 2013 National University Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Monday.
Texas Tech’s Davis Webb finished with four touchdowns on 28-of-41 passing for 403 yards to lead the Red Raiders past the Sun Devils. It was the first time ASU had allowed a 400-yard passer since Washington State’s Connor Halliday in 2011.
ASU gave up 487 yards of offense to the Red Raiders – 403 through the air – as the team dropped to 0-4 as a program in Holiday Bowl appearances and is now 13-13-1 all-time in Bowl appearances. The Sun Devils finished with 287 rushing yards and 412 total yards of offense in the losing effort.
Taylor Kelly (135) and D.J. Foster (132) each eclipsed 100 rushing yards in the game, marking the first time a Sun Devil duo had accomplished the feat in the same game since J.R. Redmond and Delvon Flowers against Arizona in 1999.
Kelly’s 135 yards were a new career high and the first time he had hit the 100-yard barrier. He scored a 44-yard touchdown dash, the longest score of his career, and had a career-long 51-yard rush in the first quarter as well.
He finished 16-of-29 passing for 125 yards and an interception with no touchdowns.
Foster also had a career high in rushing yards while keeping his scoring streak going with his fifth straight game with a rushing touchdown on the ground.
The Sun Devils came out swinging in the second half as Kelly scored on a 44-yard rush – the longest of his career – to bring the Sun Devils back within 27-20.
The Red Raiders responded with a 90-yard return by Reginald Davis on the ensuing kickoff to expand their lead back to 14 at 34-20. A 23-yard field goal by Ryan Bustin on the ensuing Red Raider drive expanded the TTU lead to 17 with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter.
Gonzalez kicked his third field goal of the night – a 33-yarder – to bring the score back within 14 at 37-23 with 13:39 left in regulation.
That would be the end of of the rally, however, as the Sun Devils were unable to capitalize for the remainder of the game with any hopes of a comeback hurt by Kelly’s first interception as ASU was driving with 3:35 left in the game.
For just the third time this season, the Sun Devil allowed their opponent to get on the board first as Texas Tech drove 77 yards on 14 play on the opening drive of the game to take a 6-0 lead on a one yard pass from Webb to Rodney Hall. Texas Tech missed the extra point on the play.
After a quick three and out by the ASU offense, Texas Tech quickly capitalized by with a six play, 68-yard drive that was capped by a 18-yard pass to Jakeem Grant.
The Sun Devil got on the board on the following drive after taking the ball 52 yards on five plays to set up a career long 44-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez to bring the game back within 13-6.
Texas Tech fumbled on the ensuing kickoff to give ASU good field position that the Sun Devils turn into another three points on a Gonzalez 31-yard field goal.
The Red Raiders would go on to score 14 unanswered points on a 23-yard pass to Brad Marquez followed by a 21-yards score to Grant for his second of the game as TTU pulled out to a 27-6 advantage.
The Sun Devils shorted the lead heading into halftime following another Red Raider fumble that set up a 20-yard Foster touchdown rush and had a chance to shorten the deficit even more on a 17-play, 69-yard drive to end the first half that was spoiled by a missed Gonzales field goal from 24 yards out.
With the loss, the Sun Devils finish the season with a 10-4 record (8-1 Pac-12) and as the Pac-12 South Division Champions. It was just the 12th time in history the Sun Devils had reached double digits in wins.