ASU suffered its first home loss of the '07 season on Thanksgiving night. The Devils were outscored, played and hustled in their 44-24 loss to 11th ranked USC. "We got whopped today," Rudy Burgess said after the game.
The win marks a resurgence of performance for USC whose season was looking grim after a 24-23 loss to Stanford earlier in the year. Despite that defeat, and a loss to Oregon, this win against ASU puts them back in the Rose Bowl race.
Rudy Burgess has played USC four times now, and in all of them he came out on the losing side. Seeing that Burgess hails from Southern California, he surely would have wanted just one win. "Me being from Southern California and everything, and not being able to beat USC in all of my five years is kind of disappointing but life goes on after that," Burgess said after the game.
On ASU's first possession, Burgess dashed for a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, after USC marched down the field and scored on their first possession. It was his first kick return for a TD.
At the end of two quarters ASU was down 10 points, a familiar position for the maroon and gold this season. The crux of the loss came in the third and fourth quarter. After being held scoreless in the third, ASU could only muster one TD in the fourth. "It was kind of hard to gain momentum after they got up on us," said Burgess of playing under USC's offensive shadow. "We were just unable to come back and come back on top."
The third quarter has historically been ASU's golden time, outscoring opponents to come back from halftime deficits. But turkey day against USC bucked the trend and the Sun Devils were shut out in that period while the Trojans catapulted their last 17 points up to the board. ASU had the same problem against Oregon, being outscored 3-14 in that loss.
"We just couldn't get back on top of our game after the first quarter," said Burgess about the offense. "They just outplayed us in the second half." The offensive line had more issues late in the game, especially after senior Brandon Rodd left the game with an injury. The pressure to Carpenter was taking an effect on the timing of throws and became a little frustrating, according to Burgess.
"We couldn't be any better prepared for this game," Burgess said. "You could use conditioning as an aspect but guys were missing blocks and we were missing tackles and that was a big part of it," he added about their overall performance.
ASU has come a long way since the start of the '07 season, exceeding most preseason predictions. Burgess said that he will move on from this loss and start preparing for Arizona next week. "We are going to come back and watch the film and forget about it," Burgess said about this tough loss. "We are going to concentrate on the week coming up and hopefully we can regain our composure."
The season certainly isn't over for the Sun Devils or Burgess, he said. "We still have at least two games left and we have to focus on next week and not how we played this week," said Burgess who will look to make it three straight wins against rival Arizona on December 1st.
Burgess Puts Loss Behind, Looks Ahead
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