Devils Struggle in Season Opening Win

They baffled them on defense and tricked them on offense. Northern Arizona University wasn't coming to Tempe just for a fat payday. Ultimately, ASU was able to prevail 35-14, but displayed many areas of concern in the process.

You won't find a more bizarre beginning to a college game anywhere, as the first few minutes of the first quarter in front of 53,540 spectators at Sun Devil stadium. Arizona State drove 64 yards, just to see a Rudy Carpenter pass go off Terry Richardson and get intercepted in the end zone. NAU's first possessions nets minus 16 yards and three sacks allowed. However, they don't punt and unsuccessfully run a trick play. However, ASU runs the ball four times within the 5–yard line to no avail. Next possession the visitors score on an 80-yard pass to Alex Watson that saw a Sun Devil defensive back falling.

ASU scored on two screen plays (DeWitty and Torain), but never had the lead, as Watson and his teammates catch the Sun Devils unprepared and score form 60 yards out. With the score tied at 14-14 at halftime, the much maligned ASU defense allows 76 offensive yards and no points in the last two quarters. The home team wouldn't score until the fourth quarter on a 35-yard interception returned by Chris Baloney. From here on out, the Sun Devil tailbacks are able to grind it out and score two rushing touchdowns to and avoid an upset or a narrow win.

Carpenter passed for 17-24 and 261yards, with two TD's and one pick. Rudy Burgess paced the ASU receivers with seven catches for 112 yards. True freshman Dimitri Nance, played exceptionally well gaining 61 yards on ten carries – all in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Derron Ware led the defense with eight tackles and three sacks. Jonathan Johnson is his punting debut averaged 49.2 yards a punt on four kicks. Four of six Jesse Ainsworth's kick-offs ended up as touchbacks.

The maroon and gold will have to shore up things in a hurry as a talented Nevada team invades Tempe on Saturday of next week.

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