"It came out of nowhere and I'm very surprised that it happened. I don't think our guys quit, they just got their rear ends beat."
Arizona State (3-3, 1-3 Pac-10) did begin the game on a fairly strong note. Quarterback Steven Threet connected twice with wide receiver T.J. Simpson for two passes of 44 and 26 yards and while this 75-yard drive ended with just a 28-yard field goal by Thomas Weber, it certainly seem as if the Sun Devil offense was indeed building on its win at Washington two weeks ago.
Alas, for ASU this was anything but a prelude for either side of the ball.
Cal (4-3, 2-2) responded with 40 unanswered points. Threet completed just 8 of 16 for 125 yards and two interceptions and ASU had just 166 yards of total offense. The defense surrendered 251 yards of total offense in the first 30 minutes.
The game was effectively over at halftime when the hosts sported a 26-3 lead, and ASU had to start the second stanza without Threet who suffered a concussion late in the first half.
Samson Szakacsy, who missed one day of practice this week was thrusted into action since Brock Osweiler, who took the majority of second team snaps in the days leading up to today's contest was not deemed healthy enough (sore back) to play.
"I just felt rusty a little bit," Szakacsy confessed. "I wanted to go out there and repeat like last year, go all out and do my best. I did my best and it's unfortunate that the entire game turned out the way it did. We felt like we came in with a good plan and just didn't execute. Our offense has to be precise about what we have to do and we didn't do that today."
Szakacsy went 8 for 17 collecting 52 yards and was intercepted once. ASU finished the afternoon with 234 yards of total offense.
Cal's Kevin Riley completed 19 of 28 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Shane Vereen rushed for 91 yards and 19 carries and three scores, while wide receiver marvin Jones hauled in four catches for 110 yards and a score.
"I'm disappointed for our fans and for my team," said linebacker Brandon Magee who led all players with 13 tackles. "We have to go back (home) and learn from our mistakes. We have a whole other game next week and we start practicing on Tuesday. We have to throw this behind us."
"We've made a lot of progress and this knocked us back," Erickson stated, "so we'll see what we are made of. We are a better football team than we showed (today). We need to rally back and there are five football games left. There are a lot of positive things that can happen."