Sun Devils Rebound In Grand Fashion; End Six-Game Drought
Aug. 31, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Hakim Hill ran for one touchdown and caught a pass for another, and fellow freshman Chad Christensen threw two scoring passes as Arizona State defeated Division I-AA Eastern Washington 38-2 Saturday night.
The victory ended Arizona State's six-game losing streak, which tied a school record, and made amends for its 48-10 loss at Nebraska last week.
Eastern Washington, which led I-AA in scoring and total offense last year, had a far different outcome than its 2001 season opener, when the Eagles nearly beat Oregon State but lost 21-19.
This time, the Sun Devils took command early, building a 28-2 halftime lead and coasting in the second half.
Hill, who sat out the 2001 season because of a suspension by coach Dirk Koetter and gained only 3 yards last week against Nebraska, scored twice in a 50-second span in the first quarter.
First, he capped a 52-yard, 10-play drive by grabbing a 12-yard touchdown pass from Christensen. Mike Williams had seven carries for 31 yards on the drive.
The Suns Devils got the ball back quickly when cornerback R.J. Oliver intercepted a pass by Josh Blankenship and returned it 10 yards to Eastern Washington's 20.
After a 10-yard holding penalty against the Sun Devils moved the ball back to the 30, Hill, the son of former All-Pro J.D. Hill, darted around the right side, cut back toward the middle of the field and ran for his second touchdown.
Arizona State also scored twice in the second period. Christensen, who redshirted last year following a senior year in Scottsdale, Ariz., in which he passed for 1,820 yards and rushed for 340 yards, finished an 80-yard, 8-play drive with a 26-yard pass into the end zone to Mike Pinkard, giving the Sun Devls a 21-0 lead.
Hill finished the game with 162 all-purpose yards - 62 on 12 carries, 29 on two pass receptions and 71 on four punt returns.
The Sun Devils added their fourth touchdown six minutes later when Cornell Canidate, another freshman, ran 8 yards. He finished the game with 15 carries for 100 yards.
Christensen, who was 12-of-21 for 135 yards in three quarters, was tackled for a safety by defensive end Brandon Moore late in the second period for Eastern Washington's only points.
Blankenship, a former starter for Tulsa who passed for more than 5,000 yards for the Golden Hurricanes, couldn't get the Eagles' offense untracked. He was 18-of-36 for 211 yards but was sacked six times. Overall, the Eagles rushed 20 times for minus-13 yards.
Eastern Washington's offense was so bad that Jesse Nicassio was forced to punt 10 times.
Arizona State scored the only points of the second half on a 43-yard field goal by Mike Barth and a 4-yard pass from Andrew Walter to Skyler Fulton, both in the fourth quarter.
The last time Arizona State did not give up a touchdown was Sept. 26, 1998, in a 24-3 victory over Oregon State.