Sun Devils Downed By Cal
By NATE POLICAR
ASU Sports Information
For Arizona State (4-5, 1-4), this matchup against California (5-5, 3-2) represented a chance at retribution for Cal's 55-38 upset win at Sun Devil Stadium. However, one year later, as the ASU campus again celebrated its Homecoming against Cal, the Golden Bears broke the 50-point barrier once more and downed the Sun Devils, 51-23.
'It's a simple game,' ASU head coach Dirk Koetter said. 'They ran the ball on us and got us to over-commit on the run and then they went play action and threw the ball over our head and we couldn't stop the post route.'
The first quarter was a wild shootout between the two teams as they combined to score on seven straight possessions. Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers started things off by finding receiver Burl Toler on a 37-yard completion, followed immediately by a 43-yard touchdown pass to receiver Geoff McArthur, completing an 80-yard drive in just 16 seconds.
Arizona State answered immediately as junior quarterback Andrew Walter found senior receiver Skyler Fulton on the right side of the field for a 17-yard gain. Walter then hit sophomore Lee Burghgraef on another 17-yard gain before hooking up with Fulton on a 32-yard touchdown, to tie the score at 7-7. Cal's next drive featured tailback Adimchinobe Echemandu in a seven-play, 80-yard drive which was highlighted by a 48-yard carry and a three-yard touchdown run by Echemandu. The Sun Devils were able to pull three points back through true freshman kicker Jesse Ainsworth as the first quarter came to a close with a 31-yard field goal to make it 14-10.
Cal started the second quarter with a Rodgers five-yard pass to Toler, who took it into the end zone for the score, putting Cal on top 21-10. Taking over after a touchback, Walter hooked up with Fulton on three passes totaling a gain of 65 yards. Down to the Cal two-yard line, the Devils called on redshirt freshman Loren Wade to punch it through for the touchdown, inching ASU closer at 21-17. With the second quarter midway over, the Golden Bears' backup tailback J.J. Arrington entered the game and gained significant yardage, including a 24-yard carry for a touchdown.
With Cal ahead 28-17, Walter fumbled the ball on the first play of the next drive after being sacked by Ryan Riddle, and the ball was recovered by Cal's Lorenzo Alexander on the ASU 30-yard line. Rodgers completed a 25-yard pass for Cal, bringing them down to the five-yard line. But, the Sun Devil defense stood tall following the turnover, as sophomore Jamar Williams stuffed Echemandu for a loss, and senior Connor Banks sacked Rodgers for a three-yard loss. Cal was forced to settle for a 29-yard field goal by kicker Tyler Fredrickson and extended the lead to 31-17 with 4:35 remaining in the half.
The Golden Bears' defense forced the Sun Devils into a three-and-out, giving the ball back to Cal in its own territory. A Rodgers' 52-yard pass to McArthur set the table for an eight-yard toss to Vincent Strang and the touchdown. The trouble continued for the Sun Devils as, with just 43 seconds remaining in the half, the squib kick hit junior Ishmael Thrower on the kickoff, giving possession back to Cal in ASU territory. With the clock counting down, Fredrickson gave the Golden Bears a 41-17 halftime lead with a 33-yard field goal.
'We moved the ball well this week,' said Wade, who posted his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game. 'We followed our game plan as it was scripted as a team, but it was just little mistakes that cost us.'
The second half began similarly to how the first half ended as ASU took possession from its own 31-yard line. After successful rushing by Wade, Walter's pass was intercepted by Cal's Joe Maningo at midfield. Taking advantage of the short field, Cal rushed the ball for 23 yards and passed for 20, en route to a touchdown, giving the Golden Bears a 48-17 advantage.
As the third quarter ended, Cal once again took possession of the ball. Combining the run and the pass, the Golden Bears moved the ball to the ASU 29-yard line before electing to kick on a fourth-and-one. Fredrickon's 47-yard field goal attempt was good, giving the Golden Bears 51-17 advantage.
With true freshman Sam Keller under center, the Sun Devils took possession on their own 31-yard line. Keller completed a pass to sophomore Derek Hagan for 15 yards and redshirt freshman Terry Richardson for 13 yards to move the Devils to midfield. Aided by a pass interference call against Cal, Keller again found Hagan for 14 yards before connecting with redshirt freshman Jamaal Lewis on an 11-yard pass in the endzone. With just under seven minutes remaining, the Sun Devils set the score at 51-23, where it would stay for the remainder of the game.
'We didn't anticipate the score being like this,' Walter said. 'You never hope that's the situation. Again, we didn't take advantage of our opportunities on offense, and that was the way the game went. I wish I had an answer.'
SUN DEVIL GAME NOTES: Tailback Loren Wade has scored at least one rushing touchdown in four of his last five games...His 107 yards against Cal marked his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game, making him the first Sun Devil to accomplish that feat since Delvon Flowers in 2001 (Oregon, Washington State, and Arizona)...ASU's defense failed to come up with an interception for only the second time in nine games this year (North Carolina was the other)...True freshman Sam Keller threw his first career touchdown pass against Cal, connecting with freshman Jamaal Lewis for 11 yards...It was also the first career TD reception for Lewis...ASU turned the ball over four times after committing a total of just two turnovers in its previous three games.
TOMORROW | 5:00pm PTLive
Fri 3/23 | 3:00pm PTLive
Fri 3/23 | 5:00pm PTLive