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No Holiday for Sun Devils

Davis Webb AP

Davis Webb threw for 403 yards and four touchdowns to lead Texas Tech to a 37-23 upset win over flat, bumbling No. 14 Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl on Monday night.

With the victory, the Red Raiders snapped a five-game losing streak and finished their season at 8-5. The Sun Devils lost their second-straight to close out at 10-4.

Tech raced out to a 27-6 lead and then held off every attempt by ASU to come back. Not that the Sun Devils were doing themselves any favors, as mistake after mistake kept them from making the game more interesting.

To wit, ASU closed to within a touchdown at 27-20 when Taylor Kelly rushed for a 44-yard score early in the third quarter. But Reginald Davis took the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and the Red Raiders went back on top by two scores. The teams traded field goals and Kelly uncorked a bomb that should’ve been a touchdown, except receiver Richard Smith dropped the ball in the end zone and ASU never really threatened again.

It’s not often that a team rushes for 287 yards and loses by 14 points, but that’s what the Sun Devils did. Those turned out to be meaningless yards. In the end, this game was about Texas Tech’s execution on both sides of the ball. ASU thought it could muddle through somehow and it showed in the final result.

The Sun Devils will now hit the offseason wondering What if? This was a team that could’ve been in the Rose Bowl, but instead it ended up as the latest Pac-12 team to disappoint in the Holiday Bowl. It could’ve won 11 games for the first time since 1996. Instead, it wound up with two straight embarrassing losses. A lot of talent returns next year, but Todd Graham has more work to do in changing the mentality of this program.

As for Texas Tech, it showed great resilience in winning this bowl game when almost no one thought it could. Kliff Kingsbury had this team ready to play and that allowed him to cap off his first season as a head coach in style. It’ll be interesting to see if Tech can keep up with the Big 12 Joneses in the next few seasons. At the very least, the Red Raiders look like they’ll be competitive.

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12 Responses to “No Holiday for Sun Devils”
  1. thekatman says: Dec 31, 2013 2:30 AM

    ASU embarrassed themselves and the Pac-12, and they won the Pac-12 Sou? You gotta be kidding me!

  2. realfootballfan says: Dec 31, 2013 2:39 AM

    Heard alot of 50 something to 20 something predictions for ASU here locally. Quite frankly, I don’t know why. This program is a joke and will always be one of the little brothers in the Pac 12.

  3. queenlivekillers says: Dec 31, 2013 6:34 AM

    This is the same Arizona State that let Notre Dame off the hook then went on to play their best football of the season to win the Pac 12 South. Damn.

  4. madtownthrowdown says: Dec 31, 2013 7:52 AM

    That was a sad way to go out. Maybe their coach had “boy band” practice and was not paying attention.

  5. fpneal says: Dec 31, 2013 8:23 AM

    Tech played well on both sides of the ball, congrats !

  6. acpappas says: Dec 31, 2013 9:05 AM

    Couldn’t be happier for the head coach of Arizona St.

  7. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 31, 2013 9:58 AM

    As an Aggie it was really uncomfortable rooting for my old conference foe…. but congrats to the Red Raiders and to our old OC Kliff Kingsbury.

  8. drummerhoff says: Dec 31, 2013 10:17 AM

    Not sure ASU was ‘flat’ more like TT’s QB was on target and the TT front 7 took away ASU’s passing game.

    Congrat TT after losing so many in a row to beat a highly ranked team.

  9. mogogo1 says: Dec 31, 2013 10:46 AM

    One of those bowls where one team had something to prove and the other seemed disappointed they weren’t in a better bowl against a higher-ranked opponent. And with how ASU plays O, you knew they were in trouble as soon as they fell behind by a couple of scores.

  10. whiskytango333 says: Dec 31, 2013 11:22 AM

    Fraud Graham got some “high octane” shoved directly down his throat last night.

  11. thepapiblanco says: Dec 31, 2013 1:05 PM


  12. thepapiblanco says: Dec 31, 2013 1:08 PM

    The Pac12 needs to renegotiate their bowls. For the Pac12 #2 to play against the Big12 #6 (in the case of TT), in front of a half empty outdated Qualcomm Stadium is egregious. No wonder the Pac12 has a history of listless, emotionless performances. Then you have the Big10 playing on New Years getting boat raced by SEC schools…

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