Turnovers Doom Devils in Lincoln

Winning on the road requires error free Football. This was especially true for an inexperienced ASU team visiting powerhouse Nebraska in their own back yard. Unfortunately the Sun Devils didn't follow that recipe in the second half. A blocked punt, and an interception for a touchdown were some of the mishaps that led the Huskers to a 48-10 drubbing over the Devils.

It was a self-fulfilling prophecy for the ASU offense. The inexperience of the quarterback Chad Christensen and the offensive line in front of him fully manifested themselves on Saturday evening. The redshirt was 6 of 16 for 72 yards. His mobility helped him gain some valuable yards at times, but he was forced out of the pocket all too often. His backups didn't fair much better. Andrew Walter was 7-16 for 46 yards, and Andrew Goodenough was 4-8 for 52 yards. The JC transfer's lone interception was returned for a touchdown.

As mentioned, the offensive line didn't do much to help the cause. The ASU quarterbacks were sacked four times, and the running game netted only 83 yards. Mike Williams was the leading rusher with 77 yards on 12 attempts, including the Devils' lone touchdown, a 34-yard scamper. Cornell Canidate showed some flashes of brilliance gaining 14 yards on five carries, and overshadowed the much-anticipated debut of Hakim Hill who had –1 yard on three attempts. Prior to the game it was believed that ASU could punish Nebraska via their explosive passing game. However, 175 yards passing is hardly what the Sun Devil faithful had in mind. Naturally, Shaun McDonald led all receivers with 73 yards on seven receptions. True freshman Derek Hagan continued his fine performance in Camp Tontozona and was the second leading receiver with 36 yards on four receptions.

The Sun Devil defense more than held its own in the first thirty minutes, where it limited the home team to only 10 points. However the floodgates busted open in the second half where Nebraska outscored the visitors from Tempe 38-7. Predictably enough, Nebraska ran rough shout over the Devils on the ground with 283 yards, and passing for only 33 yards. The 10 total tackles for loss including three sacks, are definitely something that Coach Guy's group can hang its hat on. Jason Shivers, ASU's leading tackler last season, picked up where he left off with his team leading seven solo tackles. His fellow safeties Al Williams and Riccardo Stewart had five a piece.

It's been said that special teams don't get many chances to play, and thus are always remembered for the one or two bad plays committed. This evening those words rang loud and clear. A Tim Parker blocked punt was returned for a touchdown, while another blocked punt put the Huskers deep in ASU territory, which led to an other score. ASU's kickoffs paled in comparison to Nebraska's, which continuously booting them in the end zone. The Devils' 16 yards in punt returns and 28 in kickoff returns are extremely disappointing to say the least. The five penalties for 63 yards may not be an astronomical number, but suffice to say that it didn't help the cause.

Will this loss be a one that adversely affects the Devils for the rest of the season, or is it simply just one game that will get fade from memory with 12 more matches left in the season? Only time will tell. Truth is that ASU didn't embarrass itself, especially in the first half. While the negatives may out way the positives, this game can offer some valuable lessons and building blocks for the future. Up next an excellent opportunity to unleash the frustrations of this game– a home game against Eastern Washington.

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