Sun Devils Stomp Oregon State, 41-24
Oct 21, 2001
Arizona St. 41, Oregon St. 24
TEMPE, Ariz. - With a sea of maroon and gold in the stands, Arizona State stormed into Sun Devil Stadium Saturday night hungry for its first Pac-10 victory. Sixty minutes later, the Devils (4-2, 1-2) came from behind to stab Oregon State (2-4, 1-3), handing the Beavers their third conference loss of the season with a 41-24 Devil win.
'I always felt that the crowd was our 12th player on defense,' ASU sophomore rush end Terrell Suggs said. 'The crowd got into it and our momentum got going.'
That momentum helped keep the Devils' season home winning streak alive at four games. Coach Dirk Koetter couldn't agree more. 'I might add that the crowd really got into it, really helped us out a lot,' he said. 'The students were awesome, and as the game wore on, that made the difference on several occasions.'
Thanks in part to a selfish second-half Devil defense and a rhythmic offense with quarterback Jeff Krohn back in the lineup, ASU offered Koetter his first Pac-10 victory while containing Oregon State's Heisman Trophy candidate Ken Simonton. ASU running back Delvon Flowers was not to be contained, rushing for 226 yards and second-half touchdown scores of 74 and 28 yards.
The Devils started the game with a bit of magic, pooching the opening kickoff into the slippery arms of Oregon State's Mark Walsh. ASU's R.J. Oliver recovered in Beaver territory, and several plays later, Mike Barth split the uprights on a 39-yard field goal.
OSU did not flinch, driving 65 yards in 11 plays to get on the board on a Simonton one-yard rush to go ahead 7-3. Following an ASU punt, Beaver quarterback Jonathan Smith found tight end Tim Euhus wide open in the middle of the field for a 40-yard passing score to put OSU up 14-3.
The Devils snapped out of the slow start minutes later when Krohn tossed a perfect throw to speedy Shaun McDonald down the sideline. McDonald reached over his defender's hands, held on tight, and raced the last 15 yards to the goal line.
However, near the two-yard line, McDonald had the ball jarred loose as both opponents fell into the end zone. As the crowd gasped, McDonald bounced up and fell on the ball for the touchdown.
Krohn, who threw the amazing 63-yard score, looked as if he hadn't lost a step from his previous week's injury to his right ankle. 'I'm ok. I just feel like an 80 year-old man,' he smirked after helping the Devils win with his 185 total passing yards.
With 10 seconds remaining in the first quarter, ASU got within a point after driving downfield on several big-yardage Tom Pace runs to set up another Barth field goal, cutting the Beaver lead to 14-13. However, after a silent second quarter, the Beavers got three more points after blocking an ASU field goal and kicking their own 40-yard field goal just before halftime.
The remaining two quarters belonged to Flowers, who piled up an amazing 207 second-half rushing yards. For Krohn, it was a relief to see his tailback turn on the burners.
'Thank goodness for Del. Our offensive line did a great job. I got to stand back and watch, and it was fun,' Krohn said. 'We were getting blitzed a lot tonight. It was huge to have a running game. It does take a lot of pressure [off the passing game].'
On only the second play from scrimmage in the second half, Flowers got a big block out front and set fire to the turf en route to his 74-yard score, the longest of his career.
Oregon State answered after recovering a Sun Devil fumble inside the Devil's red zone before Beaver quarterback Smith found wide receiver James Newson on a seven-yard split to give OSU a 24-20 edge.
As the fourth quarter opened, Oregon State literally slammed into a brick wall of maroon and gold defenders. Linebackers Mason Unck and Solomon Bates and safeties Alfred Williams and Jason Shivers all recorded eight tackles apiece on the night, a huge reason the Devils suffocated the Beaver offense in the final quarter, surrendering only 37 yards.
The Devils forced the Beavers to shudder and punt away on five of their last six possessions. On one of those Oregon State punts, ASU return man Justin Taplin scampered for a 63-yard return to give the Devils excellent field position.
One play later, Flowers pulled a Houdini trick, slipping his way past defenders to the end zone. What looked like Flowers being tackled for a brief time was really an allusion of a chaotic pile of jerseys in commotion. Seconds later, Flowers blasted out of the line and took the leather the distance of 28 yards to give the Devils their go-ahead points.
'I got held up, just stepped outside, and got the touchdown,' Flowers said. ASU pitched a fork in the Beavers at the seven-minute mark when Taplin took a handoff from Krohn, stopped, and passed a perfect 23-yard lob into the outstretched arms of Ryan Dennard to give the Devils a 34-24 lead.
On ASU's final scoring possession, Flowers broke loose for a 41-yard rumble that set up Tom Pace's 11-yard score. Pace, who finished the game averaging 8.4 yards per carry, stretched the nose of the pigskin over the goal line with two defenders on his back at the 2:39 mark, solidifying the Devils' 41-24 comeback win.
Overall, Koetter seemed to be more pleased than ever about the Devils' effort. 'Everybody helped, special teams made some plays, the defense made some plays, offense made plays, and we were able to run the ball,' he said. 'College football games don't get much better than this.'
Krohn was excited about getting Coach Koetter the win, and anxiously thought about the incoming Huskies of Washington a week later. 'They're [UW] going to have a lot of momentum coming in next weekend, but so will we after tonight's win. It'll be like two teams high on a bubble--and one is going to explode. Hopefully, we can stay undefeated at home.'
SUN DEVIL GAME NOTES: ASU remained undefeated at home by winning its fourth straight game in Tempe, including its first Pac-10 win... Flowers finished the game with a career high 226 rushing yards...His performance ranks sixth-best in ASU history, and he became the 19th player in school history to rush for over 200 yards in a game...Flowers' 74-yard TD scamper to open the third quarter was the longest run by a Sun Devil since J.R. Redmond's 80-yarder vs. UCLA on 10/2/99... Suggs recorded four tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble...His defensive teammates of Unck, Williams, Shivers, and Bates all led the Devils with eight (8.0) tackles each... McDonald reeled in a 63-yard pass from Krohn, the second longest TD scoring pass this season...McDonald leads the Devils with 22 catches for 502 yards and eight touchdowns...The Devils' victory over the Beavers marks the 14th time ASU has won a Pac-10 home opener (14-9-1)...ASU has won seven of its last eight conference home openers, including three straight.