Sun Devil Stadium was overcome by a brief haboob in the first quarter, and the storm caused windy conditions and general malaise -- mainly on the USC Trojans sideline.
Brock Osweiler and the Devils overcame two fumbles (one recovered, one overturned on a review) to score a 2-yard touchdown on a pass to Gerell Robinson. After just a minute and a half, ASU had a 14-3 lead over the Trojans.
The wind blew in from the southwest, crossing the stadium towards the northeast. It wrecked havoc on the kicking game (Alex Garoutte's kickoff was fielded at the 18-yard line) and Matt Barkley's passes were affected by the abrupt change in conditions.
The Trojans converted a fourth down attempt at the 50 yard line, proceeding to get 15 yards later in the drive on a senseless personal foul called on, you guessed it, Vontaze Burfict, who can't seem to control himself in his third season at Arizona State.
The ASU defense was still able to stop Barkley and the Trojans from inflicting too much damage, holding them to another field goal -- this time a 29-yard kick from Andre Heidari.
The Sun Devils couldn't move the ball on their next possession, forced to punt inside their own 15 yard line. A great punt return gave the Trojans the ball at ASU's 12 yard line, but then the impossible happened -- Vontaze Burfict picked off Matt Barkley, running the ball back 36 yards and giving ASU all the momentum.
Jamal Miles, Cameron Marshall and Kyle Middlebrooks came to life on this drive, catching swing passes and running up the field to pick up huge chunks of yards at a time. Osweiler was accurate on his reads, finding his open runningbacks as they swung towards the sideline.
The biggest swing pass of them all came with 2:07 left in the half, when Osweiler hit Miles in stride to give the Devils a 21-6 lead.
USC wasn't about to let the half slip away. Barkley hit Robert Woods for a 57-yard gain, bringing the ball to the ASU 14 with a minute a half to play. The Sun Devils once again held the Trojans to a field goal, bringing the score to 21-9 ASU.
At the half, the Sun Devils look confident and ready to win their first game against USC in 12 years.