Defense Outdoes Offense in Scrimmage

All eyes were on the QB battle between Sam Keller and Rudy Carpenter on Saturday. Much like the skies above Camp Tontozona on Saturday morning, nothing is clear in that regard. Furthermore, the Sun Devil defense didn't make it easier to decide on that competition, as they did a solid job stopping the ASU offense.

Sam Keller was 11-17 for 93 yards and an INT, while Rudy Carpenter completed 15-23 passes for 123 yards and a TD. Following the scrimmage, head coach Dirk Koetter didn't give the edge to any of the two. "When we evaluate quarterbacks, that's part of the position I'm always gonna be the toughest on," he said. "I know how good those guys play and I think they played fair to average for them. I think that when both those guys know they're fighting for a job, they're pressing too much."

The defense had six pass breakups, the aforementioned interception, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, and numerous big hits – none bigger than the one Jeremy Payton put on Tyrice Thompson which drew the applause of the 800 spectators at camp. "I think the D got the better of it," stated Koetter on the scrimmage "The offense didn't finish drives. We were on a play count today. In the early part of the scrimmage, when the offense had some drives going, I pulled it off on a play count. But in the second part of the scrimmage, when the defense had their backs to the wall in the red zone, they came up with some turnovers. The safeties as a group did well. The corners maybe had their best day. Justin Tryon showed up today. Grant Crunkleton made a play, Travis Smith made a play."

It wasn't all gloom and doom for the offense, as the Sun Devil skipper was pleased with some players in the maroon jerseys. Dimitri Nance had 45 yards and two scores on the ground, including a 37-yard run. It was enough for one young spectator to tell his father "That must be the new Reggie Bush." (Nance wears the number 5 jersey, as did Bush). Ryan Torain scored on a 10-yard screen pass from Carpenter, and Brandon Smith was the unlikely leader in reception yards (113), in large part due to a 70-yard receiving touchdown from backup signal caller Danny Sullivan.

"The running backs really came to play," commented Koetter. "Ryan Torain will help our football team, not only at running back, but on special teams too. He's physical, and he can bring it. That's not taking anyway from Dimitri (Nance) who had a long touchdown, Keegan (Herring) was solid…I'm very happy with those tailbacks. 15 players caught passes today, and that doesn't include Zach Miller and Jamaal Lewis, so the receivers showed up."

Another less talked about position battle is for the starting punting job, and both candidates faired well. Incumbent Jesse Ainsworth averaged 40.6 yards on six punts, and JC transfer Jonathan Johnson had a 41.8 average on the same number of attempts, with his longest going for 50 yards. Nate Kimbrough and Chris McGaha looked very well in the return game.

Following the scrimmage, the players drove into Payson for a viewing of the movie "Talladega Nights" as they relax from a very physical scrimmage. On Sunday they resume practices with a morning and afternoon session.

Scrimmage Stats>


Sam Keller 11-17-1, 93 yards
Rudy Carpenter 15-23-0, 123 yards, TD
Danny Sullivan 1-3, 70 yards, TD
Brett Boon 2-2-0, 50 yards
Dax Crum 4-6, 35 yards


Dimitri Nance 7-45 yards, two TD's
Keegan Herring 7-34
Shaun DeWitty 6-25
Ryan Torain 4-22
Rudy Carpenter 6-18
Rodney Class 6-10
Sam Keller 4-6

Brandon Smith 2-113 yards, TD
Nate Kimbrough 5-45 yards
Rudy Burgess 3-35
Chris McGaha 4-34
Jeff Gray 4-30
Alex King 2-24
Ryan Torain 3-21, TD
Terry Richardson 1-12

Defense Ryan McFoy three pass breakups
Grant Crunkleton pass breakup
Travis Smith pass breakup
Michael Marquardt sack
Josh Barrett pass breakup
Kellen Mills sack
Justin Tyron INT
Garrett Judah fumble recovery
Derron Ware fumble recovery

Dane Guthrie, Loren Howard, Chris Baloney, Littrele Jones and Robert James sat out the scrimmage. Alex Fa'agai and Preston Jones wore orange jerseys and were held out as well.

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