The Sun Devils used two signal callers to baffle an Illini defensive unit that entered the game as the team's perceived strongest unit.
Redshirt sophomore Taylor Kelly completed his first 10 passes, finishing 18-of-24 for 249 yards and a score. Co-No. 1 Michael Eubank, a redshirt freshman, tossed the first two touchdowns of his career and ended with a perfect 5-of-5 night.
"What our quarterbacks are doing right now is remarkable," Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. "They’re checking and getting us into the right plays, the options, and the things they are doing are phenomenal. Those two are dynamic, and they’re hard to stop."
The defense allowed 510 total yards, the most since a three-overtime game against Michigan in 2010.
The efficient, with-ease manner the Sun Devils piled up the yardage left Illini players like linebacker Jonathan Brown unsettled. Arizona State averaged over 7.5 yards per play, converting 26 first downs while only encountering third down on seven occasions.
"It's very humbling," Brown said. "I'm embarrassed. I'm ready to work. That performance we put up tonight, that's not us.
"I just want to apologize to the fans. That's not how we play."
The defensive effort was a severe step back from the performance posted a week ago. Illinois stifled Western Michigan, pushing the Broncos to -6 yards rushing and forcing four turnovers in the season opener.
That provided defensive players and onlookers alike with high expectations moving forward.
Saturday night, however, Arizona State put up 192 yards on the ground (five per carry). Two fumbles inside the Illinois 10-yard line were essentially the only disparaging moments for the Sun Devils offense.
"We aren’t keying what we are supposed to key," Illinois coach Tim Beckman said.
It all started with the pass. Kelly repeatedly hit his No. 1 option with quick passes and little hesitation. That negated the pass rush of the Illini defensive line, lauded for it's projected future NFL players in Michael Buchanan and Akeem Spence.
"Our plan was to stretch the midfield horizontally on these guys, and not let them play in a box, and that’s what they’re used to doing in the Big Ten," Graham said. "We made them defend the field.”
Sun Devils tight end Chris Coyle led the team with a school record-tying 10 catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns -- totals all more than he'd previously posted during his entire career.
It was that kind of night for Illinois defensive coordinator Tim Banks and his players, as Arizona State kept them guessing all night. Running backs D.J. Foster, Cameron Marshall and Marion Grice contributed six catches and little-used junior Kevin Ozier caught the second touchdown of his career.
"Obviously we didn't play as well as we wanted to play or needed to play for that matter," Banks said. "There's a lot of things that we wish we could take back. We didn't do a good enough job executing, didn't do a good enough job coaching, so have to go back to the drawing board.
"Obviously for us we've got to be able to fix the problems we had (Saturday) because if you don't they'll continue to fester for the rest of the season."
Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will have some company in the training room this week as the list of injured Illini grew. By the time the game ended, safety Steve Hull and wideout Darius Millines already had removed their shoulder pads and joined Scheelhaase on the sideline, relegated to watching in place of participating.
Hull, who returned briefly after missing the season opener due to an ailing shoulder, re-aggrevated the injury Saturday. Millines injured his ankle after posting one catch for minus-3 yards.
“Anytime you lose players as so dedicated as those two guys are you walk out there and you see it in their eyes and you tell them to stay positive and hopefully we can get them back," Beckman said.
Safety Supo Sanni (leg) didn't travel with the team.
Beckman was unsure of the long-term status of any of his injured players immediately following the game.
"I really don’t to be honest with you," he said.
Bad day for the Big Ten
Saturday's Big Ten/PAC-12 showdown was supposed to offer a good measuring stick for Beckman and his new staff to see where the team stood on a national level.
Was the lop-sided result a good indicator of the program's current standing?
"I hope not," Beckman said. "We didn’t play very well."
Illinois became another causality on a long list of Big Ten teams to struggle in Sun Devil Stadium.
Dating back to 1968, Arizona State is 8-0 at home against Big Ten opponents, outscoring foes 320-111.
While what happened decades ago may no longer truly matter in 2012, the Big Ten has a whole was roughed up by the PAC-12 Saturday.
Oregon State upset No. 13 Wisconsin 10-7, and UCLA won at Nebraska, 36-30.
This and that…
Jack Ramsey started in place of Terry Hawthorne at cornerback. The two split time at the position, with Ramsey totaling three tackles to Hawthorne's one. … Sophomore Simon Cvijanovic returned to the starting lineup after missing the season opener due to suspension. Michael Heitz moved to left guard to make room. … A week after leading the team in rushing, tight end Jon Davis failed to make a catch or carry the football. … Freshmen Dami Ayoola and Justin Hardee and redshirt freshman Kenny Knight each appeared on the stat for the first time ever. Ayoola rushed seven times for 21 yards. Receivers Hardee and Knight had one catch apiece.