ASU, which entered the game as a 23-point favorite over the Buffaloes, got on the scoreboard first with a 37-yard touchdown pass, but missed the extra point to take a 6-0 lead. Colorado came back and took a 7-6 lead in the second quarter when Tony Jones scored on a 2-yard touchdown run.
After falling behind, Arizona State rallied, taking the lead back less than three minutes later with a 75-yard touchdown drive. The Sun Devils extended that lead to 20-7 on their next possession when Taylor Kelly connected on his third touchdown pass of the first half. Colorado answered once again, finishing the first half with an 11-play, 75 yard touchdown drive to cut the lead to 20-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, Arizona State fumbled and the Buffaloes recovered with 17 seconds left in the first half. Quarterback Jordan Webb took two shots into the end zone, but both fell incomplete and Colorado settled for a 37-yard field goal to cut ASU's lead to 20-17.
Kelly finished the first half 10-of-13 for 183 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Marion Grice caught three passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to a strong passing game, ASU ran the ball well in the first half, racking up 120 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Arizona State outgained Colorado 303 to 166 in the first half, but Colorado dominated time of possession 17:40 to 12:20 and rallied with two late scores.