Encouraging Signs Shown in Loss to USC

To the ASU fans' surprise, the Sun Devils were able to dig themselves out from 21 down early in the game to tie up the score in the third quarter. While USC did go on to win, 28-21, what previously seemed to be a USC blowout win, turned into a great comeback by ASU.

USC, who has won all of their Pac-10 games since 2003, struggled to defeat the Sun Devils yesterday evening after taking a commanding lead. With Ryan Torain scoring the first touchdown in the final minutes of the second quarter, ASU came back in the second half to dominate most of the second half.

Although Arizona State mustered a great comeback, they still missed golden opportunities to score or force USC to turn over the ball. Receiving penalties left and right just made things more difficult for themselves. Though possibly not this often, it appeared to viewers as if ASU received a penalty every other play. Their inability to regulate the amount of penalties acquired was especially detrimental to their running game.

ASU was given an opportunity to go for a first down on a fourth and four, but alternately went for the attempted 50-yard field goal which leaned too far right. Though the field goal could have been a good opportunity to put some points on the board, it seems now, they missed the moment to potentially keep the drive alive and possibly come away with seven points.

Although ASU struggled to gain momentum in the first half, Rudy Carpenter and his teammates regained their ability to control the ball. Starting the second half with a sack to the USC quarterback, John David Booty, a forced fumble and a touchdown scored in the ensuing possession, the team began to remember what it was like to take charge again.

Torain, who had a great running game, was almost always open for a pass and Zach Miller, who the team has been moving around in order to get the most out of his receiving abilities, scored the second touchdown. Carpenter, who occasionally runs the ball himself, also played fairly well, completing a career long run of 38 yards.

While ASU was able to gain the momentum and control needed to win, they simply ran out of time after USC scored their fourth and final touchdown late in the fourth to capture the game.

Although ASU was unable to score any point early in the game, they did not play as horribly as it appeared. USC is equipped with a great running team, which often puts them in scoring positions. They are a talented team and on Saturday ASU gave them a challenge they did not expect. Now the Sun Devils need to transform this encouraging performance to this week's homecoming game against Stanford, in order to notch their first conference victory of 2006.

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