Devils overcome mistakes to outlast Cardinal

It may not have looked pretty throughout, but the Arizona State Sun Devils lived up to their mission statement, and answered the scratch once again in a thrilling 34-31 victory over Stanford.

On a day where fifth-year senior Andrew Walter eclipsed John Elway's Pac-10 record for career touchdown passes, the Grand Junction, Colo. product did his best Elway impersonation with the game on the line. Walter connected with Matt Miller for the second time on the night, on a 4-yard touchdown pass that put the Sun Devils up for good with 9 seconds left to play.

Stanford backup Quarterback T.C. Ostrander hooked up with tight end Alex Smith on a 67 yard touchdown pass to put Stanford up 31-26 with 2:09 left in the game, drawing boos from the home crowd on homecoming weekend. Arizona State responded with a 13-play, 80-yard drive, in which Walter threw for 79 yards and scrambled 11 yards for a key first down.

"We've done it on the road so many times the last few years, that it's nice to be able to do it at home in front of the fans because they deserve it," said Walter who finished the day 28-for-43 for 415 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Despite out gaining the Cardinal 583-283 in total yards, the Devils kept Stanford in the game by committing 5 turnovers and also had 2 punts blocked. "Special teams killed us tonight," said Sun Devil Coach Dirk Koetter, "Our defense played great… they were forcing turnovers, and making plays. In the end it was our offensive inability to finish and special teams dug us a big hole."

ASU lead at the half 17-14, ending on a 52-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Walter to Matt Miller that moved Walter in front of Elway in the Pac-10 record books. "I always downplay records but while we're here, might as well go get it," said Walter. "There was divine intervention on that one."

Walter was aided by running back convert Rudy Burgess, who gained 186 yards on 34 carries. "I got some reps at USC that got me back into the running game," said the redshirt freshman from Edwards, Calif. "I went back to some high school tape this week to get some tips on what to do… but the guys were a lot bigger out there today."

"What a stud that kid is," Koetter gleamed of his tailback. "He weighs 172 pounds soaking wet and got beat up out there today… what a competitor."

Coach Koetter had some blemishes of his own on the day as well. Leading 26-22, Koetter opted not to kick a field goal and instead called for a run on 4th and 1 at the Cardinal 10 with over 8 minutes to play. Burgess ran over the right side for no gain. Stanford took over and moved down the field, eventually kicking a field goal to make the score 26-25.

"We should be able to make six inches on a play like that… when you make a big 4th down like that you're the hero, and when you don't, you're a jerk. I guess I'm a jerk right now," said Koetter of the call.

Despite the blunder, the Devils came out victorious as the players left the stadium once again answering the scratch instead of having the fans scratching their heads.

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