Tempe, Ariz. • D.J. Foster slid into the featured back role with ease. Taylor Kelly and Jaelen Strong picked up where they left off last season. The young defense held its ground.
There were some sloppy moments, but as opening tests go, No. 19 Arizona State can’t complain too much.
Foster ran for 147 yards and three touchdowns, Strong had 10 catches for 146 yards, and Arizona State opened its season with a 45-14 rout over Weber State on Thursday night.
"I was pleased," Sun Devils coach Todd Graham said. "I thought we dominated a team we needed to dominate."
The Sun Devils’ inexperienced defense was sharp in its debut, harassing Weber State quarterback Billy Green and stuffing the Wildcats’ running game before the starters came out.
Arizona State’s quick-hitting offense overcame a slow start, marching over the Wildcats for 570 total yards.
Taylor Kelly threw for 238 yards on 18-of-27 passing, helping the Sun Devils build a 31-0 lead before sitting out the second half. Foster had a pair of short touchdown runs and reeled off a 57-yarder to open the second half in his first game as the go-to guy. Kalen Ballage also scored in his first college game.
Weber State faced a tall task against a top-20 team on the road and got off to a decent start, slowing Arizona State’s up-tempo offense.
The Wildcats couldn’t capitalize on their early chances, though, and watched the Sun Devils run away with it before putting together a few big plays against ASU late.
Zach Smith ran for 128 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown, and Green threw for 156 yards and a touchdown in his first career start.
"There were a lot of positives, but we’ve got a ways to go," Jay Hill said after his first game as Weber State’s head coach. "For this program to be good, we’ve got a ways to go."
Arizona State’s biggest questions entering Graham’s third season were on the defensive side of the ball.
The Sun Devils lost two-time Pac-12 player of the year Will Sutton and linebacker Carl Bradford to the NFL. They had two returning starters, a bunch of underclassmen on the two-deep roster and six players who started their first college game Thursday night.
The defense was the nice surprise for the Sun Devils.
The not-so-nice one was the start by their offense. The Sun Devils stumbled out of the gate, punting on their first possession and settling for a field goal on their second.
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