No. 21 Arizona State Victorious At Sun Bowl
Dec. 31, 2004
By JOEL ANDERSON
AP Sports Writer
EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Sam Keller showed remarkable poise in his firstcollegiate start, throwing a 19-yard touchdown pass to Rudy Burgess with 44seconds left to lead Arizona State to a 27-23 victory over Purdue in the SunBowl on Friday.
Starting for injured star Andrew Walter, the untested sophomore completedall four of his passes on the winning drive for 80 yards in a frantic finishthat stunned the Boilermakers and the Sun Bowl-record crowd of 51,288.
Burgess caught Keller's final throw on a screen play, slipped two tacklesalong the sideline and cut back inside en route to the end zone to give the21st-ranked Sun Devils (9-3) the lead after Purdue had gone ahead 30 secondsbefore.
The Boilermakers (7-5) had one more chance to go ahead, but quarterback KyleOrton's desperation heave into the end zone fell incomplete as time expired.
Keller put on quite a show in place of Walter, going went 25-of-45 for 370yards and three touchdowns.
Burgess, who wasn't named a starter until Hakim Hill was kicked off the teamearlier this week for breaking unspecified team rules, also had a careerafternoon - 189 yards of total offense and two touchdown receptions.
Darian Hagan added nine receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown for the SunDevils, who had lost their three previous bowl games.
Arizona State's two novice offensive standouts totally outplayed Purdue'sOrton and Taylor Stubblefield, one of the NCAA's most prolific pass-catch duos.Orton finished 23-of-47 for 281 yards with three touchdowns and Stubblefieldhad seven catches for 81 yards in their final college game together.
With the Sun Devils leading 20-16 midway through the fourth, Orton misfiredon three straight passes to go three-and-out, and on Purdue's next offensiveplay, Brandon Jones fumbled at the end of a 24-yard catch to seemingly end theBoilermakers' comeback hopes. Many of Purdue's gold and black-clad fans startedfiling out of the stadium.
But Arizona State gave Purdue another chance when punter Chris McDonaldstruggled to field a snap, and safety Bernard Pollard stormed through to blockthe punt. The ball rolled out of bounds at the Sun Devil 36, giving Purdueexcellent field position and about two minutes to work with.
Orton seized upon the unexpected opportunity, completing a 20-yard pass toStubblefield and then lofting a 6-yard touchdown throw to 6-foot-6 tight endCharles Davis for a 23-20 lead with 1:14 remaining.
That gave Keller just enough time to work his late-game magic.
The Boilermakers had only 13 yards in the first quarter and didn't get theirinitial first down until a 13-yard pass from Orton to Stubblefield early in thesecond.
Purdue's first - and only - points of the first half didn't come untildefensive tackle Brandon Villarreal tackled Preston Jones deep in the end zonefor a safety.
But Orton came out firing after halftime.
He threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hare on the first play after thebreak and connected with Stubblefield on a 5-yard touchdown throw early in thefourth, giving Purdue a 16-10 lead.
Keller responded with two scoring drives, including a 41-yard touchdown passto Burgess midway through the quarter to put Arizona State up 20-16.
RELATED NEWS & VIDEOS
TODAY | 6:00pm PTLive
TODAY | 8:00pm PTLive