Football drops another heartbreaker against Cardinal
The Sun Devils (4-6, 2-5 Pac-10) lost yet another close game to the Stanford Cardinals (6 BCS, 7 AP) 17-13 tonight at Sun Devil Stadium. Steven Threet was 16-26 for 168 yards and both a rushing and passing touchdown. Cameron Marshall led the rushing attack with 92 yards on 12 carries. The Devils were held to only 268 yards of total offense. ASU entered the game averaging 292 yards of passing alone.
Andrew Luck was 33-41, passing for 292 yards and one interception. Stanford put up 420 yards of total offense. They were able to put up 128 rushing yards on 42 plays. The Cardinals had possession of the ball for over 44 minutes.
Stanford's opening drive went 9-plays over 50 yards for the score. Owen Marecic finished the drive with a one yard run.
The Devils offense looked impressive in their second drive throwing off the Stanford defense to drive 7-plays, 74-yards for the touchdown. Quarterback Steven Threet made a four yard run for the score. Thomas Weber tacked on the extra point to tie.
Defense ruled much of the first quarter. The ASU defense held quarterback Andrew Luck and the Stanford offense to 69 yards along with stopping the Cardinals attempt at fourth and inches and three third and short attempts.
Following the defensive hold on fourth down, the Sun Devils went 50 yards only to turn the ball over in the end zone. Steven Threet rolled out of the pocket on second down and attempted to rush for the touchdown but was hit by safety Michael Thomas forcing the ball loose. Cornerback Barry Browning recovered the fumble in the end zone for the touchback.
Later in the half Stanford drove 70 yards in 10 plays but was finally held up by the ASU defense. A 34 yard kick attempt by Nate Whitaker was missed wide right. The teams went into the half tied 7-7. The ASU defense shut down the run holding the Cardinals to only nine yards rushing in the first half.
Mid way through the third quarter Nate Whitaker made a 44-yard field goal to put the Cardinals up by three. This capped off a 10-play, 41-yard drive.
The Sun Devils responded with a six play, 75-yard drive finished with an eight yard pass from Threet to receiver Kerry Taylor. It was Taylor's 100th career reception. A 39 yard run by Cameron Marshall brought the Devils into the red zone setting up the touchdown. The point after was missed by Thomas Weber.
In the fourth, Eddie Elder intercepted a rushed throw by Andrew Luck. The Devils were unable to do anything offensively with the turnover.
The following drive the Cardinals went 10-plays, 85-yards for a score. The drive was aided with a defensive holding call, taking back another Eddie Elder interception, and a pair of personal fouls on Vontaze Burfict. Another one yard run by Owen Marecic put Stanford in for the score. The good extra point by Nate Whitaker put the Cardinals up 17-13.
With five minutes left in the game the Devils gained possession following a Stanford touchdown but were unable to get a first down. The Cardinals received the ASU punt and ran down the clock securing their ninth win of the season (9-1, 6-1 Pac-10).
The ASU defense was able to hold the Cardinals to 10 of 18 on third downs. Stanford is the top ranked team in the country on third down conversions. They also stopped a fourth and inches attempt. Stanford came into the game being 9-11 on fourth down. In the end, the 420 yards of offense by the Cardinals along with a lack of offense by the Devils was not enough to pull out the upset.
"No question about it, it's as good of a defensive effort as we have had this year" commented ASU Coach Dennis Erickson. "We created turnovers and had a lot of opportunities obviously. Offensively we're not very productive as far as getting points on the board."
Threet commented on the close losses. "It's disappointing. Our goals were much higher than this, and it's tough, but after the fact, there have been too many close losses. We had opportunities to win games and we weren't able to pull that out. That's the result."
The Sun Devils have a bye week next week then host the UCLA Bruins at Sun Devil Stadium for Senior Day on November 26 at 1:30 PM.