Sun Devils Clobber Cats on Record Night

It may have taken over 13 minutes for ASU to score its first touchdown, but there was little that could stop the maroon and gold after that. A 31-point burst in the second quarter and a school record for total offense of 773 yards left no doubt that Dirk Koetter's team put the bitter loss to LSU in the proverbial rearview mirror. The Sun Devils end the non-conference schedule with a 2-1 record, and enter Pac-10 play on a high note.

Northwestern (2-1) drew first blood, as Brett Basanez found Shaun Herbert for a 7-yard score at the 7:23 mark of the first quarter. A Sam Keller to Rudy Burgess pass of 39 yards, set up the first score for Arizona State – a short 2-yard scamper by Keegan Herring. The home team proceeded to score on the next five possessions. Keller had three touchdown passes to Burgess, Jamaal Lewis and Derek Hagan, mixed in with another Herring rushing TD and a Jesse Ainsworth 27-yard field goal.

With the halftime score 38-14, ASU took the foot off the accelerator a bit, but showed a lot of confidence in their playing calling on the next score. On a 4th and 1 on the Cats' 30-yard line, the Devils were ready for a rushing play that would net that coveted lone yard. The visitors' defensive alignment caused Keller to audible, and find Matt Miller, who was tightly covered, in the end zone to put the score at 45-14 with 4:16 remaining in the third quarter. Northwestern scored in the beginning of the fourth, just to be answered by a 7-yard touchdown pass from Rudy Carpenter to Brent Miller which ended the scoring on both sides.

Keller passed for 409 yards, and had four touchdown passes for the third consecutive game this season. Carpenter was near perfect in relief going 7-8 for 74 yards and one touchdown pass. Herring had a career-high 201 yards rushing, and is the first ASU running back since Delvon Flowers in 2001, to eclipse the 200-yard mark. Hagan and Moey Mutz each had 90 yards on five and four catches respectively. Matt Miller lead all receivers in yards with 103 on only three catches. A big blemish on the stat sheet are the 15 penalties for 142 yards. A bigger damper on the victory was the broken ankle suffered by Zach Krula who is now sidelines for the year.

ASU opens conference play at Oregon State, who is coming off a 63-27 loss to Louisville. Despite that defeat, no one in the maroon and gold camp dares to discount a team that is extremely successful in its friendly home confines. Overall, it has been a pretty successful non-conference leg for ASU. Nevertheless, the Sun Devils know that they key for a successful season lies in the next eight games against its Pac-10 foes. Riding the momentum of Saturday's win can go a long way in defining the 2005 campaign.

Sparky's Sundries An inspired effort in the loss to LSU wasn't enough to put more bodies in the seats. Only 55,029 were in attendance. Surprisingly or not, the student section was already half empty in the third quarter…several local high school teams were in attendance as guests of the Sun Devils…A 67-yard run by Herring was a career high that was spoiled by ending up as a lost fumble and a touchback…one of the biggest culprits in ASU's dozen plus penalties was linebacker Dale Robinson. One of his two roughing the passer penalties was part of the Cats' initial scoring drive, and a face mask penalty nullified a recovered fumble by ASU…not only is Jamaal Lewis the unlikely season leader in touchdown receptions, but his reception to touchdown rate is a gaudy one. Four of his nine caught passes this year ended in a score, and his career total of eight touchdowns came on only 25 passes…A trio of Sun Devils: Linebacker Nick Clapp, safety Jeremy Payton and cornerback Mike Davis Jr. all made their first career start in Saturday's game…nice to see Cornell Canidate make his first appearance since the 2003 season. Fellow running back Shaun Dewitty, a true freshman, played in his first ASU game. Koetter has already declared that Dewitty will not redshirt this season… kicker Jesse Ainsworth continues to be a touchback machine. Seven of his nine kickoffs went sailing into the end zone against Northwestern, which increased his season total numbers to 20 touchbacks on 25 kickoffs…

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