For the Arizona State Sun Devils, this was expected to be a season more of moral victories than of real ones. That didn’t make their first lost of the season any easier to handle. Nonetheless, there is probably a pretty nice silver lining for the Sun Devils in the play of quarterback Taylor Kelly.
Now, Kelly will likely go down in the tilt with the Mizzou Tigers for the play that ended the game, which was an interception. But it was by his design that the Sun Devils were even in it at that point.
Flying high off of two blowout wins to open their season, the Devils were hit with a bit of a reality check on Saturday. The Tiger defense slowed down what was a high-powered offense in the first two weeks, to the tune of just 296 total yards, while also forcing four turnovers.
Kelly didn’t have the greatest game overall. When you look at his numbers at the end, 178 yards, a touchdown, and a pair of interceptions aren’t really going to get anyone excited about anything. But actually looking at the tape, he played considerably better than the numbers show.
Down 24-7 in the fourth quarter, Kelly helped to orchestrate a couple of drives that nearly brought the Devils all the way back. He was effective with his arm and his feet, making the plays he had to to help Arizona State nearly pull off what would have been an upset against the SEC squad. He completed eight passes in a row at one point.
At the end of the day, it’s still a loss that very well could have been a win. But you can definitely be impressed with the play of Taylor Kelly down the stretch, even if didn’t end the way that it could have.