Devils Hold Off Huskies, Snap Loosing Streak

Rudy Carpenter, Jesse Ainsworth, and Josh Golden are just some of the ASU players that assumed first-time roles during the Washington game. Ultimately, all three proved to be unfazed of that fact, as they greatly helped the maroon and gold come away victorious in their homecoming contest 44-20.

On the first play of the game Isaiah Stanback completed a 65-yard pass to Anthony Russo, but the visitors (1-7, 0-5) could only muster a field goal and claim the lead for the only time. Rudy Carpenter answered in ASU's (4-4, 2-3) first possession, and tallied his first career rushing touchdown. One of two fumble recoveries by Josh Golden led to a Matt Miller touchdown reception and a 14-3 Sun Devil edge. The home team shook off a James Sims rushing score with a beautiful 69-yard Carpenter to Matt Miller touchdown. Jesse Ainsworth missed a 44-yard field goal attempt, but redeemed himself with a first half ending 21-yard kick that split the uprights and gave his squad a 24-17 lead.

The third quarter was a quiet one scoring wise, as both teams neutralized each other, and the only points came via a Husky field goal. The fourth quarter hasn't been kind to the maroon and gold in most of their losses, but Dirk Koetter's players saved their best for last against the visitors from Seattle scoring 20 unanswered points. However, the next Sun Devil touchdown didn't come until only the 5:04 mark of the ending period, when Matt Miller scored his third touchdown of the day, this one from ten yards out. Preston Jones has a scamper for the same distance that found the end zone, and Golden put the exclamation point on the victory with 25-yard interception for a touchdown that in fact ended the game.

Carpenter had a very successful debut completing 79% of his passes (27-34) for a career high 401 yards. All three of his touchdowns went to Matt Miller who had a personal best of his own of 139 yards. Derek Hagan also eclipsed the century mark with 115 yards. Rudy Burgess paced his team with 67 rushing yards. Dale Robinson led the maroon and gold with nine tackles, two forced fumbles, and 1.5 tackles for loss. Golden chipped in with eight tackles. In his punting debut Ainsworth averaged 41.7 yards on three punts. Terry Richardson electrified the crowd with 110 yards on three kick returns.

Many of the nine penalties for 91 yards that ASU collected are questionable, and a handful or so of those transgressions came on a visitors' third down, as well as preventing the home team from scoring a touchdown or achieving a considerable gain. The Huskies had their way on the ground with 213 rushing yards, but Stanback completed only 8-20 passes for 171 yards. Sims led his squad with 140 yards.

Wins don't come more gutsy than this, which can also imply that the this victory wasn't a thing of beauty. Coming into Saturday's game, the gloom and doom mood surrounding the Sun Devils has reached a season low. Thus, this win lets many breath a much needed sigh of relief and plays into the team's motto of Answer the Scratch. Was this victory a temporary remedy or not? The results of next week's trip to Pullman will determine how much of the proverbial mojo has indeed been returned to the collective bodies of the Sun Devils.

Sparky's Sundries Nice crowd on hand for the homecoming game. The ones that stood out the most out of the 57,678 in attendance were the class of 1955. Props to those who came back to campus fifty years after their graduation to celebrate an remarkable milestone…The sarcastic cheers from the crowd following ASU's first punt, were probably to be expected because it wasn't blocked. What was a surprise, is that in his first collegiate punt Ainsworth booted the pigskin 49 yards…Those who anxiously awaited for the Sun Devils' first punt of the game, must have been stir crazy. The first punt of the game came only at the 12:33 mark of the third quarter…Thank heavens for playing all nine Pac-10 teams starting next year. Not playing the Huskies since 2002 and playing all the last four contests between both teams in Tempe, is just more validation for the welcomed conference schedule policy change…Hagan is only ten receptions and 488 yards away from becoming the conference career leader in both categories. If this does take place he will set a personal best in receiving yards in one season, but still may not surpass his record 83 receptions in 2004…Going 10-15 on third downs, and 5-5 (including four TD's) in the red zone will always net a victory…

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