The Sun Devils struck quickly in their first possession of the game. A 41-yard pass by Andrew Walter to Matt Miller set up a 14-yard touchdown catch by Moey Mutz. Derek Hagan's 45-yard catch in the second quarter led to his own 8-yard score, which padded the margin to 17-0. A Walter interception, the first of the season, was answered by ASU's Jamar Williams' pick, which gave Walter his third touchdown pass of the half, this time to true freshman tight end Zach Miller. With only five seconds left, Sun Devil kicker Jesse Ainsworth capped a lighting quick drive with a 48-yard field goal to send his team to the locker room with a commanding 27-0 lead.
The halftime speech was all about not letting up, and to say the maroon and gold heeded those words would be a gross understatement. ASU's defense gave up zero yards in the third quarter, and another Walter-Hagan link propelled the home team's lead to 37-0 in the same period. Midway through the final quarter, another big catch by Matt Miller, this time for 65 yards, not only sets up Zach Miller for his second score of the night, but also helps Walter surpass Jake Plummer as the school's all-time touchdown passer. One of the only blemishes of the game for the Devils was allowing Iowa to escape a shutout when the visitors scored on a Walner Belleus' 83-yard punt return.
As expected Iowa did a solid job halting ASU's rushing attack, allowing 76 yards. However, they had no answer to the Devils' arial assault. Walter turned in arguably his best performance as a Sun Devil connecting on 31-43 passes for 428 yards and five touchdowns. Unfortunately, the Iowa game marked his first interception of the season. Loren Wade rushed for 28 yards on 15 carries, while Hakim Hill was more efficient with the same amount of yards on only seven carries. Hagan and Matt Miller both eclipsed the century mark with 112 yards on eight catches and 106 yards on two catches respectively. Zach Miller led the team in receptions with ten, and had 85 yards to his credit.
For the third straight game, Dale Robinson paced the defense in tackles tallying nine on the night. He also combined with Ishmael Thrower for a sack. Jamar Williams had five tackles, the after mentioned interception, and a sack as well. DeAndre Johnson and Jordan Hill also tackled the Iowa quarterback for a loss. Ainsworth was a perfect 3-3 on his field goals, and tied his career high from last week when he connected on a 48 yarder. Rudy Burgess was contained on his returns, and was only able to amass 38 yards.
Head coach Dirk Koetter's business like attitude in the post game press conference was very indicative of the overall attitude of the team - the Sun Devils haven't accomplished anything. True, this win is extremely satisfying and was a strong statement about a program, which had fairly low expectations going into the year. Nevertheless, a win in its Pac-10 opener against Oregon State next week is necessary to further validate the notion that the 2004 version of the maroon and gold could be one of the best squads in recent memory. There's much more still to be proved, and the Sun Devils are more than aware of that fact.
Sparky's Sundries : At the end of the game dozens of ASU students tried to no avail to bring down the south goal post. That may be the only flaw associated with this group on Saturday night. A packed student section clad in gold was one the best crowds Sun Devil stadium has seen in a while…best banner of that section read: we will never yield, but we will burn your corn field …another victim of the weather were the fireworks. Tempe Police didn't allow them to be displayed in fear that the smoke, with the aid of the gusting wind, would blow into the stands…hard to say if this is a program's first but the Sun Devils never punted in the first half, and their first punt of the game came with 7:03 left in the third quarter…how's this for defensive dominance? Iowa crossed into ASU's territory for the first time at the 12:31 mark of the fourth quarter during a punt return…the 71,700 in attendance marked the 16th largest crowd in ASU's history. The game offically became a sell-out at 11:15 Saturday morning…
Devils Humble Hawkeyes 44-7
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