Devils Escape Pullman with Dramatic Victory

ASU Head Coach Dennis Erickson warned his players that their road game today at struggling Washington State would be anything but a walk in the park. True to his prediction, a cornered Cougar does fight back. Yet the 2007 Sun Devils' trademark resiliency game through once more, as Thomas Weber's 37-yard field goal with 50 seconds left secured a precious 23-20 win for the unbeaten Devils.

Another week, another slow start for Arizona State (6-0, 3-0 Pac-10). The Sun Devil defense was able to hold Washington State (2-4, 0-3) to just three points, before the team's seventh possession when Rudy Carpenter found Kyle Williams for an 11-yard score to give the visitors a 7-3 edge.

On the ensuing possession the Cougars' Alex Brink connected with Brandon Gibson for 32 yards with 40 seconds before halftime, and gave the home team momentum going into the locker room leading 10-7. The Cougars opened the second half on offense and in their first possession were forced to punt. However, a roughing the punter penalty on ASU kept their drive alive. What seemed to be a major break for Wazzu, turned into possibly the biggest play of the game. Brink's pass following the penalty was intercepted by Justin Tryon who dashed 69 yards to the end zone to reclaim the lead for his team 14-10.

Both teams exchanged scores in the third quarter, as the maroon and gold hung onto a 20-17 lead. An 18-play 77 yards drive by Washington State netted a successful a 38-yard field goal to tie up the score at 20 apiece with just under four minutes left in the contest.

ASU's advantage in time of possession was never more valuable, as it was in the fourth quarter. The Sun Devils had the pigskin for just over three minutes, and gave the hosts the ball back with less than a minute left in the game after Weber's game-winning field goal. Wazzu drove 59 yards following a touchback kickoff by Weber (who had four of those on Saturday afternoon). The Cougars' Abdollmohammadi missed only one field goal today, but it was the potential game-tying attempt which allowed the visitors to breathe a sigh of relief and avoid their first defeat of the year.

Carpenter was sacked five times in the first half (seven total) and was intercepted twice in the first quarter, which led to only three points. On the afternoon he completed 19-27 passes for 217 yards. His second touchdown pass was to tight end Brady Conrad. Ryan Torain helped the cause in the time of possession department as he scampered for 116 yards on 24 carries. Kyle Williams paced his team with six catches for 71 yards and a score.

Robert James was the top tackler for the Devils with nine stops. Weber doubled as a punter for the first time in his ASU career, and was solid with a 41.5 average per punt. The ASU defense gave up 451 yards of offense – 369 coming via the pass. The maroon and gold were penalized six times for 75 yards.

The win does make ASU bowl eligible, but suffice to say that Erickson's quad isn't satisfied with that accomplishment. After some surprising upsets this weekend, the maroon and gold feel that they can possibly measure well against the Pac-10's elite. Sure, we sit here again after the proverbial ugly win, with old doubts and questions not resolved. Nonetheless, the Sun Devil nation would love nothing better than to sit around each and every Saturday this season "complaining" about yet another unattractive victory.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories