Devils Routed in Pac-10 Opener

Today's game couldn't have started better for the Sun Devils in Berkeley. ASU's offense moved the ball at will, and their defense forced the Bears to punt in their first offensive series. It all changed in a hurry from there on. Cal scored 35 unanswered points in the first half, and when the final gun sounded, the Devils found themselves losing 49-21.

Arizona State (3-1, 0-1 Pac-10) drove the ball 76 yards in their first possession, mostly thanks to the ground game of Ryan Torain. The drive ended with the JC transfer scoring the game's first touchdown on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Rudy Carpenter. California (3-1 1-0) regrouped after their first series, and went on to score a touchdown on each of their next four possessions. In the process, the Golden Bears took advantage of a Carpenter fumble and poor punt coverage by ASU.

The visitors finally scored again on a Torain 4-yard scamper with one and half minutes left in the first half. A Cal fumble in the ensuing possession, gave the maroon and gold the ball one last time in the first half with a chance to reduce the sizeable deficit. Alas, Carpenter proceeded to throw one of two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns on the afternoon, and the Bears enjoyed a comfortable 42-14 halftime lead.

The second half started much like the first quarter. Cal was forced to punt on their first offensive series, and the Devils answered with what would be their last touchdown of the game – a 49-yard pass from Carpenter to Terry Richardson. The ASU defense pitched a shut out in the last twenty minutes, but the offense couldn't capitalize. With just over eight minutes left in the contest, a Carpenter's pass once again lands in the hands of a Cal defender who dashes into the end zone, and the dreams of winning a contest in the state of California, for the first time since the 2000 season, are dashed once again.

Naturally Carpenter had his worst performance of his collegiate career. The sophomore completed just 16 of 36 passes for 177 yards. He had two touchdowns and four interceptions. Torain was by far the brightest spot on the Sun Devil offense with two touchdowns 192 yards rushing and 17 yards receiving. Nate Kimbrough paced his team in receptions with four and had 44 yards in the contest. Josh Barrett led the ASU defense with seven tackles. Cal's QB Nate Longshore threw for four scores and 270 yards.

Needless to say that the maroon and gold need to bounce back in a hurry. Oregon, coming off a dramatic, albeit controversial victory over Oklahoma will be eager to face a wounded ASU squad with hopes of remaining unbeaten. Adversity has hit the Sun Devils square in the face today. Their upcoming home game against the Ducks will reveal if this was indeed a knockout blow or just a hiccup in the 2006 season.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories