ASU Downed By Stanford
Nov 8, 2003
By NATE POLICAR
ASU Sports Information
The Arizona State Sun Devils (4-6, 1-5) came into the matchup trying to rediscover some of the magic from the previous year when they defeated the Stanford Cardinal (4-4, 2-4) by 41 points. But luck was not on ASU's side as the Cardinal held on to down the Devils 38-27 in Palo Alto, Calif., handing ASU its second three-game losing streak of the season.
It was a sign of things to come for the Sun Devils when junior quarterback Andrew Walter began the game with a pass intercepted by Stanford's Trevor Hooper on the ASU 11-yard line. From there, it was a short field for the Cardinal as quarterback Chris Lewis scrambled his way into the end zone, giving Stanford an early 7-0 lead.
The Sun Devils then punted away after an unsuccessful three-play drive, giving the ball back to the Cardinal on its own 17-yard line. After rushing the ball past midfield with the help of tailback J.R. Lemon, Lewis hooked up with receiver Evan Moore for 46 yards before he was pulled down just shy of the goal line. Lemon subsequently dove through the defensive line and picked up the touchdown, and with the first quarter barely underway, the Stanford Cardinal had already built a 14-0 lead.
'Stanford played a good game,' said sophomore receiver Derek Hagan, who finished with a career-high three touchdown receptions. 'They came out playing hard, but we didn't come out playing as hard as we needed to. In football, you need to play hard all four quarters, and we just didn't do that today.'
The rest of the first period remained scoreless, and with a fresh 15 minutes on the scoreboard, Lemon again ran on the Sun Devil defense, picking up 32 yards before rushing for an additional 10 and a Stanford touchdown. With 14:35 remaining in the second quarter, the Cardinal led the Sun Devils 21-0.
Arizona State responded right away as sophomore Josh Golden led off the next drive with a 33-yard kickoff return. Walter took over, finding Hagan on a 67-yard completion to light up their side of the scoreboard for the first time in the game and cut the Cardinal lead to 21-7.
'We got down early, and then Loren Wade got knocked out [of the game] with a concussion,' head coach Dirk Koetter commented. 'Those two things really affected us. We didn't want to get into a situation where we had to play from behind.'
The next 10 minutes of play continued uneventfully until the Cardinal took over possession on its own 14-yard line with 4:19 remaining in the half. Using a good mix of rush and pass, Stanford went 86 yards, scoring on an 11-yard strike to Alex Smith. As the teams headed to the halftime break, Stanford was securely in the lead 28-7.
Wasting no time in picking up where they left off, the Lewis-Lemon tandem once again capitalized on running success to open the third quarter. Lewis connected with receiver Luke Powell for a 33-yard completion and Lemon rushed for 32 yards on a drive that resulted in a 22-yard field goal by Stanford kicker Michael Sgroi and a 31-7 Stanford lead.
Enter ASU redshirt freshman tailback Randy Hill who took the ball at midfield after a Stanford punt and started the Sun Devil drive with a 10-yard rush. With Hill opening up the pass for Walter, the Sun Devil signal-caller connected on a pass play to senior Skyler Fulton for 16 yards and then a 19-yard completion again to Fulton that was good for an ASU touchdown. Following a failed conversion attempt, the Sun Devils had trimmed the margin to 31-13.
Lewis then led his team onto the field with a possession beginning at the Stanford 22-yard line. Completing passes of 13 yards, 19 yards and finally a 33-yard touchdown pass to receiver Evan Moore, Lewis padded the Cardinal lead with a 78-yard, 12-play drive to put Stanford on top 38-13 as the third quarter ended.
Arizona State made a push during the final 15 minutes of the game. Starting from the ASU 20-yard line, Walter found sophomore receiver Matt Miller for a 32-yard pass to bring the ball to midfield. A play later, Hagan was open downfield and broke several tackles en route to a 46-yard reception and score. ASU now trailed 38-20 with just over 13 minutes to play.
As time was running out for the Sun Devils late in the fourth quarter, the ASU offense took the field with a sense of urgency. In the hurry-up offense, Walter found Miller on a 29-yard reception for the first of five consecutive completions. The drive was successfully finished as Walter connected with Hagan for an 8-yard touchdown pass to pull within 38-27, but that was to be the final score of the game.
'There's nothing good about losing,' Koetter said. 'I've been coaching for 17 years, and the losses are harder than anybody knows. Our players played until the very last second. Losing is still hard, but at least we can all look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we played hard.'
SUN DEVIL GAME NOTES: Andrew Walter's 357-yard passing performance moved him into second place on the ASU career passing list, and his four touchdowns moved him into third on the career TD list...With Jimmy Verdon's pick against Stanford, ASU grabbed its 14th interception of the year to date...With four catches for 138 yards, Derek Hagan turned in his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the year.
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