Story written by Vincent Crawford
Sun Devil’s junior running back Kalen Ballage tied an FBS-record with eight touchdowns (48 pts.) in Arizona State’s 68-55 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-1) Saturday night, at Sun Devil Stadium.
Ballage, who was responsible for eight of ASU’s nine touchdowns, finished with 137 rushing yards on 13 carries for seven scores (1 yd., 1, 4, 2, 7, 1, 75). He also caught two passes for 48 receiving yards and one TD (39), which happened in the second quarter. His TD reception was his second score of the game, but it was the first of his four touchdowns he tallied in the second period.
In the game, Ballage had the ball in his possession a total of 15 times, but he tied the record on his 13th touch meaning he scored a touchdown 62% of the time the pigskin was in his hands up to that point.
“It wasn’t me – it was God and my offensive linemen,” said Ballage, who brought the entire offensive line with him to the postgame press conference. “These guys right here, every single one of them, they go to work.
“In Pop Warner, (scoring multiple touchdowns) happened a lot (scoring multiple touchdowns). But this is college football and that’s big.”
Ironically, Ballage entered the contest with nine career touchdowns, including a rushing score last week at home against Northern Arizona, and almost matched that combined total in one game.
“Kalen is a guy who is just now figuring out how powerful and explosive he can really be and I think tonight he began to scratch that surface really well,” Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham said. “I am really proud of this win and I don’t think I have ever been so proud of this team and how hard they fought. Our whole locker room is ecstatic because our mission is to win and to be champions and I love the character and toughness that our guys showed tonight.”
Ballage’s eight touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving) tied Howard Griffith (Illinois, 1990) for the FBS single-game touchdown record. His record-setting night also included breaking the Pac-12 and school record for most touchdowns scored as well as most rushing touchdowns by a single player in conference history.
Additionally, Ballage’s 48 points matches an NCAA-record tying eight-touchdown game along with Division II’s Oklahoma Panhandle’s Junior Wolfe (1958) and North Park’s Paul Zaeske (1968) and Division III’s Coe College’s Carey Bender (1994) and Sul Ross College’s Dominique Carson (2012).
On Saturday, Ballage’s 48 points were more than 93 FBS teams scored that same day as ASU improved to 2-0.
Ballage’s counterpart, Demario Richard, recorded 109 yards on 30 carries, while freshman wide receiver N’Keal Harry [6 rcpts.; 72 yds.; 1 TD (10 yds.)] added 72 yards on six carries as ASU combined for 652 yards of total offense.