Devils Downed by Cougars

When ASU safety Riccardo Stewart laid motionless on the turf in Pullman, it was easy to put all the troubles of the football season aside as teammates and fans wondered if the injury he sustained would be a life altering one. When play resumed 17 minutes later, it was back to the harsh reality of the 2003 season. ASU dropped their fourth game in a row, as they fell to Washington State 34-19, and remain tied for last in the Pac-10.

Andrew Walter connected on 19 out of 35 passes for 262 yards. He threw for one touchdown and one costly interception that broke a 10-10 late in the second half and put the Cougars ahead for good. ASU had two receivers with 100 yards or more. Derek Hagan caught seven passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, while Skyler Fulton was an even 100 yards on five catches. The Devils' rushing game sputtered for most of the afternoon, and as a group was only able to muster 60 total yards. The seldom-used Cornell Canidate led all rushers with 63 yards on 21 attempts. Canidate also scored his second touchdown of the season when he tied the score at 7-7.

It was another rough day for the defense who surrendered 402 yards to Washington State, which marked the fourth consecutive game an ASU opponent gained more than 400 yards. There was no bigger play than the backbreaking touchdown given up with 56 second left in the half, giving the home team a 24-10 advantage. Nevertheless, for the second straight game the Sun Devil defense yielded only ten points in the second half. Linebacker Jamar Williams had his best game as Sun Devil notching 12 total yards, including a single game career high 3 ½ tackles for loss. Safety Brett Hudson also had his best performance in the maroon and gold amassing ten total tackles.

Punter Tim Parker averaged 40.4 yards on his five punts. His sixth punt was blocked at no fault of his own, but led to a quick and easy Cougar score early in the game. Jesse Ainsworth successfully converted his two field goal attempts, but for the third time this season he missed an extra point. In his most extensive duty ever as a kick returner, Jason Shivers collected 84 total return yards, 72 of them on kick returns. Nevertheless, ASU had a hard time containing Washington State's Sammy Moore, who had 97 kick return yards in the game. This game was one of the more disciplined ones for the Devils who had six penalties for 45 yards. Surprisingly enough, they barley trailed the home team in time of possession 28:34 to 31:26.

The prognosis on Riccardo Stewart appears encouraging. The same unfortunately cannot be said about the Sun Devils. Next, ASU plays its archrival for the dubious bragging right of not finishing dead last in the conference. This may have been an inconceivable scenario in the pre-season. These days it's just another bitter and cold tidbit of reality in the 2003 season.

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