Devils down the Cats

Arizona State scored 21 first quarter points and that was enough to propel the Sun Devils to a 28-14 win over Arizona. The win assures the Sun Devils of a bowl game and seriously hurts the Wildcats' bowl chances.

The Sun Devils scores on three of their first four possessions and watched the Arizona offense struggle after Willie Tuitama was knocked out of the game.

ASU took the opening drive and marched 80 yards to take the 7-0 lead. The Devils converted on third and nine at the Arizona 35-yard line and three plays later the Rudy Carpenter found Chris McGaha for a 26-yard score.

ASU caught Arizona napping not once, but twice on a fourth down in Arizona territory to take a 14-0 lead. The Cats stopped the Devils on thrid and eight and brought out the punt return team, but Carpenter never left the field and the Cats had to burn a time out. After the timeout the Cats trotted out their return team again, but Carpenter was still on the field. Despite having Syndric Steptoe on the field the Cats lined up in their normal defense, but communication problems let Jamaal Lewis behind them and Carpenter found him.

Nick Folk bobbled a snap and illegaly kicked the ball which when the smoke cleared the Sun Devils took over at the seven-yard line and scored on the next play.

Arizona mounted a small comeback in the second quarter. Devin Ross gave the Wildcats good field position after returning a short kickoff 31 yards. The officials originally ruled that Ross fumbled the return, but the ruling on the field was overturned by the replay officials and the Cats got good field position.

Thanks to some strong running from Chris Henry, the Wildcats moved down the field and Willie Tuitama found Syndric Steptoe just inside the goal line to cut into the ASU lead.

On the next drive the Wildcats would suffer a huge blow, one that probably meant the end of any chance to come back. Tuitama was sandwiched by a pair of ASU defenders, one who hit his head and he left the game.

He would never return.

Adam Austin would come in relief, but could muster just one scoring drive before the half. It was the last score for the Wildcats.

Tuitama was 6-10 for 36 yards and a score before leaving the game. Austin was just 11-30 with a pair of picks and the one touchdown toss. He struggled the entire game to find a rhythm and missed a handful of open receivers.

His second pick, on the second drive of the second half, gave the Sun Devils the ball at the Wildcat 23. They capped the short drive with the final score of the game.

The Devils had a balanced offense rushing for 215 yards and passing for 214.

Arizona mustered just 168 total yards.

The Sun Devils appear headed to the Las Vegas Bowl, while the Wildcats have to wait and see. They have an outside shot at the Hawaii Bowl but more than likely they have to wait and see if they can qualify for the Poinsettia Bowl. To qualify they would need losses by Troy and Louisiana-Lafayette.

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