Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ballage's Eight Touchdowns Ties NCAA Record and Leads Arizona State to 68-55 Victory Over Texas Tech

Happy 70th birthday to ASU's Sparky.
Photo by Tony Espinoza, Copyright 2016, Used with permission.

By Mike Stockman

Copyright 2016 Phoenix Area Sports
Special Report for TexSport Publications

TEMPE, ARIZONA (September 10, 2016)  The Arizona State University Sun Devils' Kalen Ballage made history Saturday night, September 10, 2016 in the 68-55 win over Texas Tech Red Raiders at a newly renovated Sun Devil Stadium.

Pac-12 record books will reflect that on this date, the previous record of six of touchdowns in a single game, held by Dick Dunn of Cal in 1922 and Anthony Davis of USC in 1972, was broken by the Devils' 6-2, 227 lb. junior running back Kalen Ballage  from Peyton, Colorado. Ballage had 13 rushes that totaled 137 yards and seven touchdowns,two receptions, one being a 39 yard touchdown pass, for a total of eight touchdowns, tying the NCAA's All-Time Record.

Both teams' coaching staffs were prepared for an evening of high-scoring, hard-hitting, down-to-the-last minute football. The Devils, coming off a victory where they started slow but finished strong, came out of the locker room where they left off last week. The Red Raiders, who won last week 69-17, throwing 633 yards and five touchdown passes behind the arm of Patrick Mahomes II, also came with last week's momentum.  

The 44,511 fans, bearing 101 degree evening temperatures, cheered and shook the stadium while both schools produced a total of 165 plays for a total of 1,267 yards. Twenty of the plays were scoring plays - eight of which were Ballage's.

For the Red Raiders, Mahomes II threw for 540 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions. Cameron Batson led the receiving with 148 yards receiving, and one touchdown. Justin Stockton rushed for 20 yards and one touchdown, and had 95 yards in receptions with one touchdown. Jonathan Giles, Derrick Willies, Demarcus Felton, and Dylan Cantrell each had touchdowns. Clayton Hatfield was 7 for 8 on extra points, wrapping up the total of 55 points. 

Jordyn Brooks led the Red Raiders defense with 10 solo tackles. Malik Jenkins, Thierry Nguema, and Luke Stice each recorded seven tackles. 

The Devils' red-shirt sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins threw for 351 yards, two touchdowns, and rushed 55 yards on 10 carries. N. Keal Harry had 72 yards in receptions and scored one receiving touchdown. Zane Gonzalez was 8-8 on extra point attempts and connected on a 43 yard field goal, giving the Devils a final score of 68.

The Devils' defense had two sacks - DJ Calhoun and Koron Crump each had one, a safety, and two interceptions by De'Chavon "Gump" Hayes, clinching the victory. The Devils' punter Matt Haack had three 50+ yard punts inside the five yard line. One of the punts led to the safety, assisted by noise from the student section just a few yards away. 

After the game, ASU's Coach Todd Graham stated “We told our guys that we were going to somehow, someway win this game and we did. I think we surprised some people but we definitely did not surprise ourselves. We made a lot of mental errors that made the score closer than it should have been but we dominated offensively. We had a bad roughing penalty that hurt us but we made some key defensive stops when we had to. I am really proud of our guys because that was a heck of a football team. They were the number one offense in the country last year and the top passing offense this year and I thought our guys did a great job figuring out a way to get the win.”.

The Red Raiders (1-1) hope to bounce back when they host Louisiana Tech on Saturday night, September 17, at 6pm. This game will be covered on TV:FSN.

The Devils (2-0) travel to UTSA for a Friday night game on September 16, 2016 at 6:30pm. 

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