The Gomez Files: Hakim Hill's Big Day Vs. Oregon State

Sept. 30, 2003

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The outcome wasn't what he hoped for Saturday nightagainst Oregon State, but Arizona State sophomore tailback Hakim Hill left ReserStadium with more than a few learning tools for the future.

Making his first collegiate start, Hill rushed 24 times for 115 yards andtotaled 92 yards on six receptions. Although the eye-opening performance may havesurprised some Sun Devil fans, it was everything many anticipated wouldhappen when potential transformed into results.

'Hakim showed tonight what we all thought he had inside him,' ASU head coachDirk Koetter said.

Hill set up his team's first touchdown midway through the second quarter witha 12-yard run to the Oregon State 5-yard line. Sun Devil sophomorequarterback Andrew Walter capped the short scoring drive by gunning a 5-yard touchdownpass to senior wide receiver Skyler Fulton, who broke open on an out route tothe front corner of the end zone.

'We've been behind in some situations before, and we all believe in eachother,' said Hill, whose 207 all-purpose yards surpassed the 87 yards he had inthe season's first three games combined. 'When we get behind, we just try tofight to get back in the game. We try not to get down on ourselves.'

Late in the third quarter, Hill played an integral role in helping the SunDevils pull within two touchdowns. After starting ASU's 15-play scoring drivewith a 14-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, Hill rushed for six yardsto move the ball near midfield.

Hill's 1-yard carry on fourth down enabled the Sun Devils to keep the drivealive deep in Oregon State territory. Hill then hauled in a 6-yard pass fromWalter to set up freshman place-kicker Jessie Ainsworth's 34-yard field goal.

Hill also did some of the groundwork on ASU's final score by breaking off a21-yard run midway through the fourth quarter that moved the ball inside thered zone. After a Sun Devil timeout, sophomore wide receiver Derek Hagan splittwo defenders just past the goal line and corralled a 20-yard touchdown passfrom Walter.

'Hakim is a guy who can get out in the open and make people miss,' Waltersaid. 'He's a load to bring down, and he's going to look for somebody to hit oncehe gets there.'

Even though ASU failed to convert some of its first-half drives into points,Hill showed the capability of being dangerous both as a running back and as areceiver. He thrived when looking for the screen pass in the flat, catchingone for a 34-yard gain and another for a 26-yard gain.

On ASU's second possession, Hill broke off an 18-yard run that moved the ballout of the shadows of the goal line. He later rushed for an 11-yard gainbefore a drive stalled in Oregon State territory.

'It's a team sport, so it doesn't really matter what any individual does,'Hill said. 'The goal is to come out with a win at the end of the game.'

Reach the reporter at brian.gomez@asu.edu.

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