Ducks Rout Devils at Home

After suffering four straight defeats, the Sun Devils talked about playing a new season. Finishing the last six games on a high note was the rally cry and ASU had a bye week to regroup for this task. Alas, following their 54-20 loss to Oregon, it was a replay of their four-game skid. It was a performance that left a team donning all maroon on Saturday night, red in their face and frustrated.

"They kicked our rear ends in every aspect of the game," said head coach Dennis Erickson. "There's not much else to say other than they controlled the game."

"I'm embarrassed for our football team. I'm embarrassed for our fans and for our students. To be at home and play like that is inexcusable. I didn't see it coming obviously."

"When you play a team like that, you have some opportunities early and you turn the football over like we turned it over, then defensively we get tired because we can't move the ball early at the start of the game…it lies on my shoulders and that's the bottom line."

Indeed, the beginning of the game gave very little hope that Arizona State (2-5, 1-3 Pac-10) would get off the snide against Oregon (6-2, 3-2). The Ducks scored on their first possession, while the Sun Devils failed to capitalize on a recovered fumble deep in the visitors' territory. ASU was able to survive two Rudy Carpenter interceptions in the first quarter, but was unable to move the chains against a stout Oregon defense.

The Sun Devils dug themselves into a 23-0 hole, and even the most optimistic maroon and gold bleeding fan knew that at this point the game's fate has already been decided.

A Morris Wooten interception was returned to the Ducks' one-yard line where Carpenter scored on his first quarterback keeper of this season to finally put the hosts on the board with 2:01 left in the first half. Kicker Thomas Weber's nightmare 2008 campaign continued with a missed PAT try that made the score 23-6 at halftime.

Oregon opened the third stanza, as they did the first one, with a touchdown. A Dimitri Nance fumble leads to another Ducks end zone score as the visitors continued to humiliate ASU, and droves of fans continue to exit Sun Devil stadium during the second half.

The Sun Devils did answer with a 15-yard touchdown catch by Michael   Jones, but surrendered 17 more points before capping their own scoring with a Danny Sullivan to T.J. Simpson pass with 52 seconds left in the game.

ASU's 333 yards of total offense are probably the most misleading stat of the night. Their anemic attack reared its ugly head once more. Even though Oregon ranks near last in the Pac-10's passing defense, the Sun Devils weren't able to exploit that.

Carpenter was 17-33 for 146 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times. Following the game the quarterback was receiving treatment and wasn't available for comment.

Erickson acknowledged that the senior's health continued to be one reason for the signal caller's latest struggles. I don't know that (Carpenter's ankle) will heal until the rest of the season," stated Erickson. "I'm not sure exactly if he re-injured it tonight or not. But that's something that he will struggle with. He has trouble pushing and throwing off of it (his foot)."

"I don't think it was all injuries, I think their defense played awfully well."

As with every game in their current losing streak, ASU scuffed again with cover-two defensive schemes.

"We came in wanting to take shots down the field," said Jones, "but it was kind of hard when you still drop a lot of guys in the backfield. When we had big plays called, we just didn't step up to make them like we were supposed to. We just didn't capitalize on all of the things that they gave us."

Where do the Sun Devils go from here, with another tough Pac-10 meeting awaiting them, this time against Oregon State?

"We look at each other like who's going to step up," described Jones. "We really haven't had that one person just step up and lead the team. We just have to stick together; we can't put our heads down. We can't quit. We can't give up."

Coach Erickson echoed those same sentiments.

"The only thing you can do is fight through it," said Erickson. "There's nothing else you can do. We're gonna look at (the game film) tomorrow, come back Tuesday and get ready to play Oregon State."


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