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Arizona State RB D.J. Foster steps up for injured Marion Grice


Home is where the heart is this season for Arizona State, which has won all seven games at Sun Devil Stadium, including signature wins over Wisconsin and USC. The Sun Devils will have the chance to prove it once and for all when it hosts the Pac-12 championship game against Stanford next week after pummeling rival Arizona, 58-21, to retain possession of the Territorial Cup on Saturday.

Sophomore running back D.J. Foster rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns in relief of injured senior Marion Grice, shredding a Wildcats defense that had held Oregon under wraps the week before. After spending much of the season as a slot receiver, Foster looked very much like the program's workhorse back of the future.

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Foster might also have to be the back of the present -- as in next week. Head coach Todd Graham said after the game that he did not expect to have Grice (leg) available against the Cardinal with a berth in the Rose Bowl on the line.

Arizona State rushed for just 50 yards on 24 carries in a 42-28 loss at Stanford on Sept. 21. It will need a more effective ground game and rush defense -- Stanford had 240 yards and ran for 4.9 yards per carry -- to secure its first appearance in the Granddaddy of Them All since 1997.

With top defenders such as defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid Carl Bradford (four tackles for loss, one sack), outside linebacker Chris Young (1.5 tackles for loss, one sack) and defensive tackle Will Sutton (one tackle for loss) playing their best football of the season, it seems like a real possibility, even after Wildcats running back Ka'Deem Carey rushed for 157 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries.

Carey has rushed for at least 100 yards in every game this season and has a streak of 15 straight games topping the century mark dating back to last season, but Arizona couldn't overcome three interceptions from quarterback B.J. Denker and one lost fumble by backup running back Daniel Jenkins, leading to 28 points for Arizona State.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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