Arizona State rolls to 45-14 victory over Illinois

Associated Press Modified: September 9, 2012 at 2:20 am •  Published: September 9, 2012
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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Todd Graham wants his team to play fast, score points and make few mistakes.

So far, so good for the first-year Arizona State coach.

Taylor Kelly completed 18 of 24 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown, and the Sun Devils rolled past Illinois 45-14 on Saturday night to improve to 2-0 with Graham at the helm.

"I want to put a product on the field that's exciting to watch," Graham said. "We are exciting to watch, but we're just beginning."

Kelly's backup, Michael Eubank, was 5 of 5 passing for 69 yards and two touchdowns and ran 7 yards for a score.

"They're a very good 1-2 punch," Graham said, "very tough to handle."

Chris Coyle matched a school record for tight ends with 10 catches, totaling 131 yards and two scores. He caught six passes for 73 yards all of last season.

"It was a great night tonight," Coyle said. "I just tried to catch everything they threw my way. Both of these guys had a lot of passes to me. I just tried to make as many plays as possible. I was happy to get in the end zone the couple of times I did. It was just a really good night for me."

Illinois (1-1) was without quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase because of an ankle injury, but the Illini's biggest problem was on defense, especially against the pass.

While the team missed Scheelhaase, Illinois coach Tim Beckman said "that's not the total reason" for the loss.

"That's not the reason we didn't cover receivers, missing tackles and throwing interceptions and all that stuff," he said. "It's about a team and it's about 22 guys playing."

Illinois joined Nebraska (to UCLA) and Wisconsin (to Oregon State) as Big Ten teams to lose at Pac-12 schools on Saturday. Beckman got his first loss as Illini coach after directing the team to a win in the Fight Hunger Bowl last season and last week's season opener against Western Michigan.

Arizona State (2-0) could have won even bigger but fumbled the ball away twice inside the Illinois 10. The Sun Devils, who gained a reputation as undisciplined and penalty-prone under former coach Dennis Erickson, were penalized once for 5 yards, and that was an intentional delay of game to set up a punt.

Freshman Carlos Mendoza had two interceptions for Arizona State, which was without linebacker Brandon Magee because of a concussion.

Josh Ferguson rushed for 101 yards in 14 carries for the Illini, 51 of them on one carry. The Sun Devils rolled up 510 yards to 332 for Illinois.

Scheelhaase, a junior who has started 27 games, was a game-time decision after injuring an ankle in last week's season opener.

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