Marion Grice

RB Deantre Lewis abruptly leaves Arizona State Sun Devils

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Senior running back Deantre Lewis will not finish his career as a member of the Arizona State Sun Devils.

After finishing the regular season with 298 total yards as both a running back and a wide receiver, Lewis will not play in the Sun Bowl against the Duke Blue Devils.

No reason was given for Lewis departure, but Arizona State head coach Todd Graham confirmed he is no longer part of the program.

Lewis career never blossomed after a promising freshman campaign. During his first year on campus, Lewis produced three straight 100-yard games against the Wisconsin Badgers, Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers. He never ran for more than 64 yards in any single game during the rest of his career.

The running back was a victim of a random shooting in 2012. Upon his return, he was stuck on the depth chart behind Marion Grice and D.J. Foster. Lewis was then shifted to the defensive side of the football for a short period. He suffered an MCL injury in 2014. He was even called out publicly by his coach.

After an average senior season, it appears Lewis finally had enough.

Sneak Peek: 2013 Holiday Bowl

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WHO: 10-3 Arizona State (Pac-12) vs. 7-5 Texas Tech (Big 12)

WHAT: National University Holiday Bowl (36th year)

WHERE: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, Calif.

WHEN: Dec. 30 at 10:15 p.m. ET

WHY: No. 14 Arizona State looks for its first 11-win season since 1996, while Texas Tech hopes to snap a five-game losing streak in this matchup of Pac-12 vs. Big 12.

The Holiday Bowl has a tradition of explosive offensive performances and this one should be no different. The Sun Devils average 41 points and 460 yards per game while the Red Raiders average 36 points and 513 yards per game.

Both attacks are quarterback driven. Taylor Kelly threw for 3,510 yards and 28 touchdowns for ASU while the combination of Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb threw for 4,630 yards and 28 touchdowns for Tech, the nation’s second-leading passing offense. Mayfield transferred out of the program, so Webb and sophomore Michael Brewer will get the snaps for the Red Raiders.

ASU can also run the ball and should get the versatile Marion Grice back for the bowl. He missed the final two games of the season with an injury, but he still rushed for 996 yards and scored 20 touchdowns. Tech’s defense struggled against the run this year, allowing an average of 194.5 yards per game.

The Red Raiders started the season 7-0 and were ranked as high as 10th, so coming out on top against the Sun Devils would salvage Kliff Kingsbury’s first season in Lubbock. ASU had a chance at the Rose Bowl and will have to avoid a letdown, but getting that 11th win should provide plenty of motivation.

PREDICTION: Arizona State 48, Texas Tech 31

Arizona State RB Marion Grice questionable for Holiday Bowl

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Arizona State could be without one of their top offensive powers when they head to the Holiday Bowl to take on Texas Tech.

Running back Marion Grice, who continues to be held back by a left leg injury suffered late in the regular season, is questionable for the bowl game, according to head coach Todd Graham.

Grice rushed for 996 yards and 14 touchdowns in 11 games this season. When healthy, Grice was one of college football’s top red zone performers. If he is not able to play against Texas Tech, the Sun Devils will rely more on quarterback Taylor Kelly, who is second on the team in rushing.

Graham also confirmed backup quarterback Michael Eubank will transfer to another program for next season. Eubank was used sparingly behind Kelly this season and will hope to find a more involving role at another program with two years of eligibility remaining.  Under normal NCAA transfer rules, Eubank will have to sit out a season if he transfers to another FBS program, but may play immediately if he moves to an FCS program. Graham said he will help Eubank find the best program to continue his college football career.

Stanford throttles ASU to win its second-straight Pac-12 title

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Some teams just have other teams’ numbers.

You could certainly say that about Stanford and Arizona State. For whatever reason, the Cardinal know how to discombobulate the Sun Devils…and that’s what they did on Saturday night in the Pac-12 title game.

Tyler Gaffney rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns and Kevin Hogan threw for 277 yards as No. 7 Stanford won its second-straight league crown with a dominating 38-14 victory over No. 11 ASU.

Stanford improves to 11-2 and becomes the fifth team to go to four-straight BCS games. Arizona State fell to 10-3 and saw its seven-game win streak snapped.

As with the earlier game this season between the two teams, this one was all Stanford from the start. The Cardinal jumped out to a 28-14 halftime lead and then cruised from there.

ASU had its chances. It took the opening possession of the third quarter and drove it 61 yards to the Stanford 13 yard line. But Zane Gonzalez missed a 31-yard field goal and the Sun Devils blew that chance to chip away at Stanford’s lead. The Cardinal promptly drove 67 yards in 11 plays and got a 30-yard field goal from Jordan Williamson to make the score 31-14.

ASU came back again. This time the Sun Devils drove 66 yards to the Cardinal nine-yard line, where it was set up with a first-and-goal. Punch it in and it may have become a game. ASU made it to the one, but couldn’t score on two consecutive plays and Stanford took over (credit Cardinal linebacker Shayne Skov for making a Levar Arrington-style leap to stop the QB sneak on third down).

To make matters worse, the Cardinal then went on a 99-yard drive to put the final nail in the coffin.

Stanford saved one of its best overall efforts of the season for its most important game. The Cardinal out-gained ASU, 517 to 311, and averaged a season-best 9.1 yards per play. The Sun Devils clearly missed its best offensive weapon, Marion Grice, who sat out the game with an injury, but nothing really seemed to go right for ASU when it mattered anyway.

Still, the future is bright for the Sun Devils. Quarterback Tyler Kelly is back next year as is explosive tailback D.J. Foster (142 combined rushing and receiving yards, 2 TDs vs. Stanford) and all-star wide out Jaelen Strong. If ASU can fill some holes on defense, it could be a regular in this title game.

As for Stanford, it’s the final hurrah for a large group of seniors who will have to be replaced, especially on defense. They’ve been the most successful senior class in school history (46-7) and are the core of the first Stanford team to repeat as conference champs since 1970-71.

With close losses to Utah and USC, though, the Cardinal will no doubt be asking “What if?” going forward.

ASU’s Marion Grice won’t play in Pac-12 title game

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In a development that’s not exactly unexpected, Arizona State will be without its top offensive threat as it looks to capture its first outright conference championship since 1996.

Marion Grice suffered a lower-leg injury in a Nov. 23 win over UCLA and did not play in the Sun Devils’ blowout of rival Arizona last Saturday.  The school confirmed today that the running back will also miss the Pac-12 championship game today against Stanford because of the injury.

Grice should be healed in time for an ASU postseason game, which would be the Rose Bowl if they can drop the Cardinal this evening.

Grice leads the Sun Devils with 996 yards and 14 touchdowns.  He’s also third on the team with 50 receptions for 438 yards, while his six receiving touchdowns are tied for the team lead.

With Grice sidelined against the Wildcats, D.J. Foster ran for 124 yards and a pair of scores.