James Launches Devils to Another Comeback Win

Robert James and the Sun Devil defense gave up 514 total yards to the Oregon State Beavers Saturday night. However, they managed to make plays when they counted the most. Following another dismal start, ASU ran away with their fourth win of the season.

It was Arizona State's game to lose from the very beginning. Las Vegas had the Devils as a 12-point favorite over the Oregon State Beavers Saturday night in Tempe.

The Devils came out to a terrible start and the Beavers spotted them 19 points after the first quarter. How could ASU be 3-0 and be losing to a mediocre PAC-10 team like Oregon State by 19 in the first quarter?

Oregon State was by far the Devils' hardest game of the season and it appeared that the maroon and gold just needed to be reminded of that. After a quick kick in the mouth ASU reclaimed its poise and began their 44-point comeback. As always, the defense and Robert James were an integral part of their team's effort to keep the ‘L' column at zero.

James realized that his team was in the driver's seat against OSU well before the game started. For some reason ASU lent the Beavers the keys to the Hummer in the first quarter. "They weren't beating us," James said. "We were beating ourselves."

James led by example for a fourth straight week with nine solo tackles and two interceptions. The first catch came in the eighth minute of the second quarter when the Beavers were holding a 19-7 lead and going for another score. Their interception led to a field goal by Thomas Webber and put the Devils within nine.

James recognized that OSU quarterback Sean Canfield doesn't try to trick the secondary with his looks. "As I watched film," said James, "the quarterback leads you to where he is going. He doesn't really look to one place then lead you back to the other." Consequently, the linebacker recognized where Canfield was going with the pass, and it was a simple decision by James about what to do.

"I saw the ball and I figured if I don't jump for it somebody else might," James said. "So I just jumped up and got it. It was a good play for the defense." James' second INT was at the start of the second half with OSU starting at their own 26-yard line. "I just wanted to make a play for the team and get us back on top," James said about his second pick of the night.

A bigger impact was felt when OSU was facing a third and one situation halfway through the third quarter. On this play Canfield handed off to Bernard like he had done so many times before. This time Bernard was stopped for no gain by James and Jon Hargis, forcing a punt. After the punt Rudy Carpenter would pass the ball 43 yards to his number one target (literally and figuratively) Mike Jones putting ASU within six.

So what was the difference maker at halftime that the defense employed the rest of the game? "We just made the adjustments and we were ready to go," James replied. "The first quarter they had that long run, they had that long pass, and we just didn't hit our gaps right. We had planned on how to do that, to make sure everything was good and we didn't end up getting that done so that's how they got the run and that's how they got the pass."

Coach Bray chalked up some new strategy at halftime according to James. "Coach told us: "We have to do this, and we have to do that," he got on that chalkboard and we vowed to come out and make it happen," James commented. The linebacker was disappointed that the Beavers still got some touchdowns but he feels lucky for walking away with a win on Saturday night.

Playing from a deficit might become too comfortable for the Sun Devils, who are going to face some serious opposition later in the season. "Unfortunately," said James, "we are going to have to get better and better because we are not going to get that opportunity with every team we face." It is not his favorite way to start out a game that's for sure James remarked. "But that is the way it has been going so far."

Playing games is still seen as a privilege and not a rite to Robert James. "Right now I just want to stay humble, stay hungry, and hopefully keep doing this consistently."

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