Duke falls short against ASU

The Blue Devils rallied to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but lost a third straight bowl game.

EL PASO, Texas -- Kalen Ballage returned a kickoff 96 yards to set up the winning score in No. 15 Arizona State's 36-31 victory over Duke on Saturday in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.

Ballage's big return came after Duke (9-4) took a 31-30 lead on receiver Jamison Crowder's 12-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Blakeney with 5:03 left.

On the kickoff, Ballage took the ball near the goal line and went straight up the right hash for about 15 yards before picking up a block and cutting to his right. He was pushed out of bounds at the 4.

On the next play, Demario Richard took a shovel pass from Taylor Kelly and bulled his way over the left side and into the end zone. Kelly was stopped on the 2-point conversion try.

Duke drove to 14 on its final drive, but Anthony Boone's third-and-10 pass was intercepted by Kweishi Brown in the end zone with 45 seconds left.

Richard, a freshman, was selected the game MVP. He scored four touchdowns for the Sun Devils (10-4) and tied a Sun Bowl record for points with 24. Richard carried seven times for 41 yards and two scores, and caught five passes for 22 yards and two more touchdowns.

Duke cut it to 30-24 with 10:10 left in the fourth on Boone's 14-yard pass to Barnes.

Richard opened the scoring with a 9-yard run in the first quarter and gave the Sun Devils, who scored the first four times they had the ball, a 20-3 lead on a 1-yard run midway through the second.

Duke rallied with two touchdowns in 1:55 span -- Boone's 14-yard pass to Shaquille Powell and Crowder's 69-yard punt return -- to cut it to 20-17 at the half.

Kelly threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Richard in the third and Zane Gonzalez added a 47-yard field with 2:23 left in the quarter to push Arizona State's lead to 30-17.

Kelly was 24 of 34 for 240 yards in his final game for the Sun Devils. The senior said he felt as healthy as he had at any point since injuring his foot against Colorado early in the season.

Jaelen Strong, leaving early for the NFL, led Arizona State in receiving with seven catches for 103 yards. It marked his 12th 100-yard receiving game, tying him for second in program history. D.J. Foster had 11 carries for 79 yards and caught three passes for 42 yards.

Still, this game belonged just as much to Arizona State's freshmen, who earned two of the game's three MVP awards. In addition to Richard, Ballage was the special teams MVP, and senior defensive lineman Marcus Hardison the MVP lineman. Hardison had with 13 tackles, including one for a loss.

Boone was 15 of 31 for 193 yards. Powell ran for 117 yards on 29 carries and had three catches for 52 yards, and Crowder had seven receptions for 102 yards.

Boone and Powell led a balanced Duke attack that ran more plays (77-69) and controlled the time of possession (35:07 to 24:53) and slightly outgained the high-powered Sun Devils 400-392 in the first meeting between the teams.

That allowed the Blue Devils to stay in the game against an Arizona State team that was 7-1 this season and 23-1 overall under head coach Todd Graham when leading at the half.

Arizona State finished with its third consecutive 10-win season, while denying Duke a second consecutive 10-win season. Duke lost in a bowl game for the third year in a row.

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