Devils Fall to Cardinal, Losing Streak Extended

Following the loss to Cal last week, head Coach Dirk Koetter talked about his team's spirit being broken. Following their loss to Stanford today, the third straight Pac-10 defeat, one may wonder tonight if that shattered team psyche is beyond repair. The 38-27 loss in Palo Alto may not appear as demoralizing as last week's defeat, but the game's events bear out the same story line – ASU could not recover from a first half domination by its opponent on both sides of the ball.

Judging by Andrew Walter's numbers, this game was an offensive boon for ASU. The junior was 23-53 for 357 yards, passing for four touchdowns and being picked only once. Furthermore, the Devils had 457 yards of total offense today. However, Walter and the Sun Devil offense were dreadful in the first half, and their valiant effort in the last thirty minutes was not enough to change the inevitable. Just like last week, Walter seemed to still be hampered by his ankle injury. When he did connect with his arial targets the main recipient was Derek Hagan. The sophomore eclipsed the century mark for the fourth time in the last six games, grabbing four balls, three of them for touchdowns, for 138 yards. Matt Miller had a career game notching six catches for 111 yards. Due to the happenings in the first half, the Sun Devil ball carriers didn't get have their number called often against Satnford. Loren Wade amassed 55 yards on 12 carries, while fellow redshirt freshman Randy Hill collected 49 yards on 10 attempts.

It was another long day for the ASU defense, which gave up over 400 yards (467) for the third consecutive game. A well-balanced Stanford attack (188 rushing, 279 passing) kept the Devils guessing all afternoon. To its credit, it did shore up in the second half giving up only ten points. Safety Matt Fawley led ASU in tackles for the first time this season with 12. That was a career best for Fawley, while teammates Shane Jones and Jamar Williams also had their best performances in the maroon and gold tallying 11 and 10 tackles respectively.

Josh Golden, who filled in for the suspended Daryl Lightfoot on punt and kick returns, totaled 98 yards (77 on kickoffs, 21 on punts). Tim Parker had one of his better nights punting averaging 45 yards a punt. Kicker Jesse Ainsworth connected on all of his three extra points. ASU racked up 98 yards of penalties, and was dominated in time of possession 23:01 to 36:59.

For some the season can't end soon enough, but alas there are two games left in this disappointing 2003 campaign. After playing one of the worst teams in the Pac-10, the Sun Devils embark on the toughest road trip in the conference, Pullman, WA, to face one of the Pac-10's best – Washington State. This may have the all the makings for another Sun Devil blues this coming weekend. The spirit is still broken, and there's no relief in sight…

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