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ASU Football: What if I Told You... Mahomes was in Tempe 4 Years ago?

Do you remember where you were when Mahomes was in Tempe?
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The 2020 NFL season kicks off tonight when Patrick Mahomes and the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field against Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. Two of the best young quarterbacks in the league drafted two picks apart in 2017, and both former college football superstars face off for the third time in less than a year. But let’s rewind even further back, let’s say four years ago on September 10, 2016.

It was a warm Saturday night in Tempe when the Patrick Mahomes-lead Texas Tech Red Raiders played the Arizona State Sun Devils in a non-conference battle that was televised nationally on FS1. Yes, the Super Bowl MVP and soon-to-be highest-paid player in the NFL was playing on the lush green grass at Sun Devil Stadium on this day in 2016.

The crazy part about that night under the bright stadium lights was that Mahomes wasn’t the best player in the game. Nor did he have the most touchdowns, which seems to be the case in every game he’s played in the NFL. That’s because this was the same game when former ASU running back Kalen Ballage erupted and tied the NCAA record for most touchdowns in the game, reaching the end zone eight times.

Behind Ballage’s 185 yards from scrimmage and 8 TD’s, the Devils beat Texas Tech in an offensively explosive game 68-55. The two teams crossed the pylon a combined 17 times, scoring 123 total points.

Even though Ballage took the storyline and the win, Mahomes’ numbers were still astonishing. The then-junior signal-caller thrashed ASU’s defense, passing for 540 yards and 5 touchdowns while adding 44 more yards on the ground and another TD. He threw the ball 53 times, which was normal for him under his former head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who now is the head man with the Arizona Cardinals. But ultimately, his two interceptions made the difference and gave the Sun Devils the 13-point W.

Now four years later, Mahomes leads the defending World Champions onto the gridiron for the opening game of the most-watched sport in America. Little did we know on that Saturday in September that we were watching one of the future NFL greats. Right in front of our eyes. On Sun Devil Stadium. And it’s safe to say that if Mahomes puts up similar numbers to what he put up when playing against ASU in 2016, I don’t think Andy Reid would complain. Oh, and the Chiefs would begin 2020 in the win column too.