D.J. Foster gives ASU a chance against Stanford
TEMPE, Ariz. – Do-it-all man D.J. Foster had a lot on his shoulders. On top of his usual duties as the Arizona State Sun Devils' Swiss Army Knife, he had to replace injured running back Marion Grice. Prior to the Saturday's Pac-12 Football Championship Game, ASU coach Todd Graham said he wanted to also use Foster at receiver like he has all season.
That Graham did on Saturday, and until Foster injured his leg early in the second half. The misfortune was a major reason why the Sun Devils found themselves in a game that would become a 38-14 loss to Stanford.
“Not having Marion hurts, but I think D.J. Getting banged up hurt a lot worse, because I think D.J. is a tremendous back,” Graham said.
Foster finished with 142 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 touches. Had he not gotten injured in the middle of the third, it could've been a bigger night. And a closer score.
First, Foster answered the first Stanford score with a 51-yard burst up the middle to tie it at 7-7. Then, on a simple screen play with Arizona State trailing 28-7, Foster went out wide and took a short pass from Taylor Kelly to the house on a 65-yard catch and run. The play brought ASU within two touchdowns, and it gave the Sun Devils a chance that had Graham thinking there would be a comeback.
ASU started with the ball in the second half trailing 28-14 and moved to the 31-yard line where kicker Zane Gonzalez missed his first field goal in the last 19 tries. On the next Sun Devils possession, it took 17 plays to drive 74 yards to the Cardinal 1-yard line. ASU backup Michael Eubank was stuffed on a quarterback sneak on a third down, and running back De'Marieya Nelson took a handoff for another failed touchdown run from less than a yard out.
The turnover on downs led to a 99-yard drive by Stanford for a game-sealing touchdown.
“I mean, you've got to score,” Graham said. “We got the ball at the 1-inch line, don't score, miss the field goal, that's 10 points. That could have obviously made a difference.”
And if Foster wasn't trying to play in a fitted knee brace during the second half, maybe the comeback would have been on.