Cal Clobbers ASU in Homecoming Game

Maybe the gloomy weather that greeted the fans coming to the game was indicative of the state of mind that the Sun Devils and their followers would be in at the end of the contest. Nevertheless, even the most skeptical ASU fan could not envision this performance. Not only was the 51-23 a demoralizing defeat, but it may also have ended any aspirations for post-season play.

Quarterback Andrew Walter admitted that he was bothered by his ankle, and his numbers this afternoon backed it up. The junior was 11-26 for 170 yards. He passed for one touchdown and was picked off twice. Backup Sam Keller threw for his first score as a Sun Devil, and was a solid 6-10 for 83 yards. Running back Loren Wade notched his fourth consecutive 100 plus yard game. The redshirt freshman collected 107 yards on only 22 carries, scoring once. Senior wide receiver Skyler Fulton led the team with 85 yards, and also had one touchdown among his five catches. Fellow receiver Derek Hagan added 61 yards on a handful of grabs as well.

When it comes to assessing the ASU defense's performance against Cal, the final stats speak for themselves. Despite having the same number of first downs as ASU (24), the visitors amassed 536 yards of total offense, averaging a gaudy 7.9 yards a play. The Bears were 6-6 in the red zone, and scored on eight consecutive possessions, including six out of seven in the first half. Junior Jason Shivers led the Devil defenders with 11 total tackles, while senior defensive tackle Shane Jones turned in another solid performance with seven stops.

Senior Tim Parker averaged 46.5 yards a punt on Saturday. True freshman kicker Jesse Ainsworth converted on his lone field goal attempt from 31 yards out, while junior Daryl Lightfoot accumulated a total of 89 return yards. The Devils' coverage teams were a lone bright spot in today's game, limiting the visitors to 39 return yards. ASU, just like Cal, was flagged 7 times for 70 yards.

Where do we go from here? That's the proverbial question that the maroon and gold faithful must be asking themselves tonight. Perhaps the team can rise over the extreme adversity it finds itself after arguably its worst loss of the season. However, every winnable game that results in defeat continues to eliminate any ray of hope the team and some of its fans still have. Sunday may end up being a beautiful clear day, but the prospects for the rest of the 2003 season are looking like the skies on this Saturday afternoon – without a ray of sunshine in sight…

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