First Half Miscues Doom Devils in Loss

The bye week was intended to heal. However, it its first game following their week off the Sun Devils (3-4, 1-3 Pac-10) have re-opened wounds suffered from its back-to-back losses to the Trojans and Ducks. On Saturday afternoon in Palo Alto, the Cardinal (4-3, 3-1) scored 45 unanswered points as they topple the visitors from Tempe 45-35.

On its first possession of the game, ASU punter Chris MacDonald had his first kick blocked and a play later Stanford's Trent Edwards passes for one of his three first half touchdowns, this one to Anthony Kimble, and Stanford grabs a 7-0. The Devils answered with an 80-yard drive that culminated with a quarterback sneak by Sam Keller, who scored his first ever collegiate rushing touchdown. Stanford answered back with another Kimble score, this one via the ground to put the home team ahead for good 14-7.

Mark Bradford scored in the early part of the second quarter and following a 16-yard MacDonald punt, Bradford scored his second receiving touchdown of the day and ASU found itself down 28-7. Another MacDonald miscue, this time an illegal kicking penalty for not kicking beyond the line of scrimmage, causes a penalty that pinned the Devil defenders deep in their territory, and led to a Cardinal field goal as time expired in the second quarter.

Up 31-7, Stanford didn't slow down and stormed out the third quarter to score on its first possession. Backup ASU signal caller Rudy Carpenter was inserted following that touchdown, and his first pass of the game was intercepted and returned for a 26-yard score by Mike Silva and capped off the Cardinal scoring in the game at 45 points. Ironically, following that costly blunder Carpenter turned around his fortunes in a dramatic way. The redshirt freshman went 19-25 for 304 yards and a trio of touchdowns, as well as a two-point conversion. The maroon and gold scored on four straight possessions, which made the final score a bit more respectable.

Keller, possibly due to his thumb injury, was 10-16 for 98 yards. Rudy Burgess paced all ball carriers of the filed with 72 yards on 11 carries and scored once. Terry Richardson hauled in six balls for 119 yards and a touchdown. Zach Catanese and Dale Robinson each had eight total tackles to co-lead the ASU defense. The seven sacks given up, along with the 100 yards in penalties, negated the fact that the Sun Devils out gained the Cardinal in total offense 528 to 369. Edwards had career highs in passing yards (303) and touchdowns in a game (three)

BCS bowl aspirations have quickly turned to the quest of just becoming being bowl eligible. The margin of error has been shrinking by the week, and the worn out cliché of "must win game" is now applicable to each of the remaining contests of the 2005 campaign. Preventing this season from further deteriorating, will put to test the team's mission statement of Answer the Scratch. Indeed, answers are something all team members are seeking as they go through these challenging times

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