Trojans Blank Devils

For the second straight week, the plot for ASU repeated itself. A solid defensive effort couldn't compensate for an anemic and error prone offense. A recovered fumble and three interceptions by the Sun Devil defense were never capitalized by the maroon and gold, as ASU extends its losing streak to four and suffers a 28-0 defeat in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon.

USC (4-1, 2-1 Pac-10) signal caller Mark Sanchez started the scoring for the hosts on the Trojans' opening drive, on a sneak from one yard out. While the Arizona State (2-4, 1-2) offense struggled to move the chains with any kind of consistency, its defense pitched a shutout for the next 17 minutes.

At the 6:15 mark of the second quarter Sanchez threw for his only touchdown of the afternoon, a four-yard toss to Damian Williams to make it a 14-0 game.

69 seconds later, Sun Devil quarterback Rudy Carpenter, who missed the majority of this week's practices with a sprained ankle, was picked off by the Trojans' Kevin Thomas who returned the interception for a touchdown.

Only three plays later, ASU incurred another miscue as center Thomas Altieri's snap sailed high above Carpenter's head and the ball was recovered by USC's Fili Moala at the Devils' 15-yard line. Unable to gain a first down, USC lined up for a field goal try. The hosts faked the attempt, but were stopped short of the first down after their trick play.

In their first possession of the second stanza, Sanchez was sacked by ASU's Dexter Davis and Morris Wooten recovered ASU's first fumble of 2008 at the hosts' 21-yard line. Thomas Weber, who has been struggling as of late on his filed goal attempts, had his try in the ensuing ASU possession from 29 yards out blocked.

Later in the third quarter, the ASU defense picked off Sanchez three more times (Nixon, Bolden, and Nolan). On the other hand, a 48-yard field goal attempt by Weber was blocked as ASU gained just one first down during the quarter. At the 8:31 mark of the period, a hobbled Carpenter who was often being punished by USC's defense, succumbed to his injured body and gave way to backup Danny Sullivan.

The junior didn't fair well in his first extended duty of 2008 as he threw two interceptions while trying to avoid the shutout. Dropped balls by his wide receivers, especially Gerell Robinson in the end zone, naturally didn't help the cause. Stafon Johnson's two-yard scamper midway through the fourth capped off the scoring in the L.A. Coliseum.

Carpenter, whose start today extend the second-longest active starting streak for a quarterback in the country to 37 games, was 11 of 20 for 126 yards and an interception, while Sullivan was 4 of 17 for 28 yards and two picks. Dimitri Nance led ASU rushers with 64 yards on 14 carries. Michael   Jones had 51 yards on four receptions.

The Sun Devils were held scoreless for the first time since Oct. 30, 2004 when they lost a road game to California 27-0, and recorded their first four-game skid since 2003.

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