Devils End Season with Loss To Bruins

A miserable ASU season came to a merciful end today, not before the Sun Devils lost to the UCLA Bruins on the road 52-42. While the score may indicate that Dirk Koetter's team kept it close, it was in actuality a total domination by UCLA on both sides of the ball.

Redshirt Freshman Andrew Walter got his second consecutive start today, and while his performance last week against Arizona was admirable; his outing today was poor to say the least. Walter ended the day with 16-29 for 226 yards with two TD's and one interception. It should be worth noting that many of his yards came in "garbage" time, and his turnovers did lead to UCLA scores. Furthermore, many of his six sacks were a direct result of holding on the ball for unnecessary extra seconds. Overall, Walter did nothing to distinguish himself from his competition at quarterback, and just heightened an already cloudy picture as to the future of this position. The rushing game for the Devils was solid at 184 yards, with Tom Pace leading the way with 87 yards on nine attempts. Pace, along with fellow running backs Delvon Flowers and Mike Williams each scored a touchdown. Flowers eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season. It was a relatively quiet day in the receiving department. Donnie O'neal who had a disappointing season led ASU with 76 yards on five receptions, but the high-octane passing game was MIA in Pasadena today.

The 536 yards the defense gave up to UCLA, was just another painfully typical performance this season. The 237 yards given up on the ground, and the 299 yards given up in the air, are indicative of ASU's inability to stop a well-balanced UCLA attack. A rare interception by defensive lineman Tommie Townsend that led to a Sun Devil score, was probably the lone highlight of one of the most maligned ASU defenses in recent history.

The special teams unit, which has been playing well for weeks now, had scored its first touchdown – a kick-off return by Tom Pace, who had an extraordinary game all around. Punter Nick Murphy out dueled the best Pac-10 punter, UCLA's Nathan Fiske, averaging 55 yards a punt. Tom Osborne, the special team's coach, has to be encouraged with today's performance and excited about further exploiting the potential of this unit for next season.

Reflecting on the 2001 season is a task that is painful not only for the Sun Devil faithful, but also for the team's coaches and players. Dirk Koetter and its staff, will spend the better part of the next few weeks concentrating on the future, by hitting the recruiting trail with fury. For the players coming back, the off-season will be a time to take a hard and honest look in the mirror, trying to figure out how to better themselves next year. New coaches and new scheme are explanations/excuses that can only be used in the first year of a coaching reign. Starting today, the honeymoon is over, and looking forward it will be up to the ASU coaches and players to prove their worth and potential. One can only hope that an underachieving 2001 season will be a prelude to a successful 2002 season.

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