Sun Devils Stifle Buffaloes, 21-3
Sept. 16, 2006
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -Rudy Carpenter was often off-target but still threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns in No. 22 Arizona State's 21-3 victory over Colorado on Saturday night.
Carpenter, whose career TD-to-interception ratio was a sparkling 24-4 entering the game, was picked off twice and finished 21-of-37 passing, but the Sun Devils (3-0) left Boulder unbeaten because again Colorado's inept offense couldn't do enough to reward a stellar defensive effort.
For the third straight game, the Buffs failed to score after halftime.
Although this was the first meeting between the schools, the game had the look and feel of a longtime rivalry with both sides familiar with each other, and for good reason - the coaches used to work together at Boise State.
Moreover, Buffs coach Dan Hawkins' offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich, spent eight years under Sun Devils coach Dirk Koetter before coming to Boulder with Hawkins this year. Helfrich's insight into ASU, however, couldn't prevent Colorado's losing streak from reaching seven, the Buffs' longest skid since they opened 0-7 in 1980.
The Sun Devils, who entered play with 13 sacks, tops in the nation, added four more Saturday, all on third down, which negated the modest improvements made by the Buffaloes' sputtering offense in Week 3.
After Buffs freshman Cha'pelle Brown fumbled a punt at his 20-yard line with 3:55 remaining, Carpenter floated a 5-yard TD toss to tight end Zach Miller with 1:33 left, the only score of the second half.
Miller's 12th career TD broke the school mark set by Joe Petty (1970-72) for most touchdowns by a tight end in school history.
Torain scored on an eight-yard run and Chris McGaha had an 18-yard TD catch to give the Sun Devils a 14-3 lead after a first half in which they piled up nearly 300 yards but turned the ball over three times, twice near the goal line.
Colorado caught the first break when defensive tackle George Hypolite recovered Shaun DeWitty's fumble at the Buffaloes 17 in the opening minutes.
The Buffs gained just five yards, however, and settled for Mason Crosby's 29-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. Crosby was later wide left from 57 yards, just his third miss in 15 fourth-quarter attempts.
CU linebacker Jordon Dizon never turned to look for the ball on McGaha's TD catch. He plowed into the freshman wide receiver just as McGaha hauled in Carpenter's perfectly thrown pass for a 14-3 lead that capped a 40-yard drive, set up by Terry Richardson's 48-yard punt return.
Carpenter was hurried and his throw to wide receiver Jamaal Lewis was picked off by safety J.J. Billingsley at the Buffs' 2 less than a minute before halftime.
Colorado had its own troubles down by the end zone - safety Zach Catanese punched the ball out of quarterback Bernard Jackson's hands just as he was about to reach across the goal line in the second quarter and ASU safety Josh Barrett recovered.
Jackson finished 8-of-18 for 86 yards and an interception. Junior Hugh Charles got his first start for the Buffs since Hawkins replaced Gary Barnett in the offseason and ran for 109 yards on 20 carries and caught two passes for a team-high 30 yards.
TOMORROW | 4:00pm PTLive
TOMORROW | 7:00pm PTLive
Fri 5/25 | 4:00pm PTLive