BOULDER, Colo. (AP)Trenton Bourguet threw for 435 yards and three touchdowns, all of which went to tight end Jalin Conyers, and Xazavian Valladay ran for three touchdowns as Arizona State racked up 557 total yards and held off a late push for a 42-34 victory against Colorado on Saturday night.
Utilizing an up-tempo attack, the Sun Devils (3-5, 2-3 Pac-12) scored a touchdown on each of their first two drives, going a combined 139 yards in 15 plays. Making his first career start, Bourguet completed his first nine passes for 161 yards.
On its way to a 28-17 halftime lead, an Arizona State offense that entered the night averaging 353.6 yards had put up 327 while averaging 8.4 yards per play. It finished the game with 10 plays of at least 20 yards.
”Getting on field and looking how they were playing defense, I kind of had a feeling that me and (tight end) Messiah (Swinson) were going to have a good day,” Conyers said.
Despite allowing those gaudy offensive numbers, Colorado (1-7, 1-4) remained competitive for much of the first half. On a third-and-12 late in the second quarter, Buffaloes quarterback J.T. Shrout found freshman wide receiver Jordyn Tyson in stride for a 58-yard touchdown to get within 21-17. The Sun Devils, however, responded with a nine-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge from Valladay.
Arizona State led by at least 15 points for much of the second half, but an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown from Tyson got Colorado within 42-34 with 3:50 remaining. The Sun Devils were able to mount a seven-play, 36-yard drive that ran out the clock.
”The plays haven’t changed,” Arizona State interim head coach Shaun Aguano said. ”The template changed. The play calling changed. It is gratifying. I’m crossing my fingers on the sideline hoping it works, but the kids bought in. They trusted the changes that I made and I’m grateful for that.”
Valladay, the Football Bowl Subdivision active leader in career yards rushing, ran for 118 yards, giving the Wyoming transfer more than 4,000 for his career.
Shrout was 13-of-34 passing for 222 yards with two touchdowns. Tyson had 115 yards receiving along with his two touchdowns, the third-highest total for a true freshman in program history. Deion Smith added 111 yards rushing and a score for the Buffaloes.
”You think about the scoreline being 42-20. What’s happened throughout the course of the year when the scoreline looks like that? That’s why a lot of people left,” Colorado interim head coach Mike Sanford said, referring to a thinned-out home crowd in the fourth quarter. ”But I’m going to tell those people that left that this team’s going to fight to the very end and there will be a breakthrough. I believe that.”
In a battle of teams with interim head coaches, Arizona State earned its second-consecutive victory against Colorado. It scored a combined 77 points in those contests.
With the loss, the Buffaloes secured their 15th sub-.500 record in the past 17 seasons. In the previous 21 seasons, they finished with a losing record just three times.
Arizona State linebacker Kyle Soelle, who entered the night third in the FBS in tackles, left the game in the third quarter but later returned. . Colorado freshman tight end Caleb Fauria had to be helped off the field after a 3-yard catch in the first quarter. He did not return. . Arizona State safety Chris Edmonds left the game late in the first half, but he later returned and had an interception. . Colorado linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo left the game in the fourth quarter, but was able to walk off the field and later returned.
Arizona State hosts No. 12 UCLA on Saturday.
Colorado hosts No. 8 Oregon on Saturday.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap-top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://bit.ly/3pqZVaF.