Sun Devils Never Gained Momentum

At the end of the day, Arizona State only lost the game by 10 points, but they made a lot of mistakes that could have turned the tide in the game. Saturday's 24-14 by California was a very important game for both teams. ASU plays at the Trojans next week, while Cal has bye before traveling to Arizona on October 18 for a game to determine first place in the Pac-10…

The Arizona State Sun Devils could have put themselves in a position where even if USC beat them they still would be tied for first place. In order for that to happen, ASU had to beat Cal. Now the Sun Devils chances of winning the Pac-10 come down to them upsetting the Trojans next week and that will not be an easy task.

It was expected for Cal to come out at home and play with a lot of emotion and try to get off to a great start. The Sun Devils did a good job defensively by holding the Bears to an opening field goal. That was a win for the ASU defense and a bit of a disappointment on the Cal sideline, because they could not finish off the drive with a touchdown.

Arizona State had an opportunity to come down and take the lead, but they made their first of many mistakes and gave the ball right back to the Bears after a fumble.

Cal quickly came down the field and ended their drive with a touchdown pass from Nate Longshore to LaReylle Cunningham. Now down 10-0, ASU had to rely on the pass more than they wanted to and that played into Cal's victory.

ASU's strength is throwing the ball, but their main weakness is protecting their quarterback. It has to be frustrating for the coaching staff to have talent at the quarterback and receiver position, but the offensive line cannot provide enough time for them to make plays. The lines failures were glaring against the Georgia Bulldogs and against Cal on Saturday. When the Bears were not sacking Carpenter, the defense was forcing him to scramble and hurry many of his throws.

On two consecutive first quarter possessions, the ASU line played a major part in the success of the Cal defense. On one series, there was a false start and on the next play Carpenter was sacked by Bear defensive end Cameron Jordan. On the next series by the Sun Devils – when they were attempting to convert on third down – Carpenter was sacked again.

At the end of the first half with ASU in Cal territory, the Sun Devils went from 3rd-and-10 to 3rd-and-15 after another false start penalty. These type of mistakes plagued ASU all day. It is tough enough to win on the road at Memorial Stadium when everything is going well, but it is almost impossible to win when a team is always in third and long situations.

ASU Head Coach Erickson summed up the Sun Devils day when he stated, "We can't get down 17-0."

Now, ASU must travel to USC and deal with a defense that can put constant pressure on Carpenter like Cal and Georgia did over the last couple of weeks. While Cal rests up this during its bye and prepares for next week's game in Tucson for first pace in the Pac-10.


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