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Sun Devils cruise past Stanford

September 07, 2008
Rudy Carpenter threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 15 Arizona State to a 41-17 victory over Stanford on Saturday night.

Facing relentless pressure on a 100-degree night in the desert, Carpenter completed 27-of-36 passes and threw an interception.

Carpenter has thrown for a school-record 733 yards in the first two games.

The Sun Devils (2-0) had won the last two meetings with Stanford by a combined score of 79-6, but this one was tighter, at least for three quarters.

Toby Gerhart's 5-yard run gave Stanford (1-1) a 7-3 lead after one quarter. That brought back memories of last year, when the Sun Devils led after the first quarter only three times and were outscored 128-50 in the first quarter.

Gerhart finished running for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

The second quarter belonged to ASU.

With 9:08 to go in the half, Carpenter hit a wide-open Michael Jones with an 11-yard touchdown pass to put ASU ahead 13-7. After a Stanford field goal in the final minute of the half, Carpenter hit Kerry Taylor for a 45-yard score to give ASU a 20-10 halftime lead.

Dimitri Nance scored from a yard out to make it 27-10 early in the third quarter.

ASU looked ready to blow the game open when Cardinal linebacker Clinton Snyder sacked Carpenter and forced a fumble midway through the third quarter. Stanford drew within 10 on a 6-play, 63-yard drive capped by Gerhart's 2-yard run.

The Sun Devils responded with a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Carpenter hitting tight end Dan Knapp for a 2-yard touchdown with 10:43 to go in the game.

Carpenter, a senior, improved to 23-10 in his fourth season as a starter. With his next victory, Carpenter will tie Jake Plummer for third on the all-time list, and he's within range of all-time leader Danny White, who won 30 games in three seasons.

Nance ran for 75 yards and a touchdown for ASU, while senior Keegan Herring returned from a hamstring injury to rush for 59 yards and a touchdown. Herring limped off with an apparent leg injury late in the game.

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh started Tavita Pritchard at quarterback but also used Jason Forcier and Alex Loukas.

Pritchard completed 11 of 18 passes for 97 yards, and he threw two interceptions that led to Sun Devils touchdowns. Loukas also was intercepted.

The Cardinal closed last season and opened this one with victories, and they were trying to put together their first three-game win streak since 2005. They also were bidding for their first 2-0 conference start since 2001.