Sun Devils Squander Lead, Big Game From Walter
by Travis Breedlove, ASU Sports Information
The Sun Devils (7-4,4-2) had a record-breaking evening as Terrell Suggs, Andrew Walter and Shaun McDonald all broke ASU single-season records, however it was not enough as the visiting Golden Bears from Cal (6-4,3-3) put a sour note on the final home game for 18 seniors defeating ASU 55-38.
Andrew Walter and Cal QB Kyle Boller combined for 690 yards passing in a high scoring affair that kept both secondaries in check throughout the game. Turnovers and the inability to establish a running attack would prove to be the downfall for the Sun Devils as Cal turned five turnovers, four fumbles and one interceptions, and a blocked punt into 31 points holding ASU to minus two net rushing yards for the game.
'We have it posted in our locker room that the keys to winning are winning the turnover battle, win in the fourth quarter, and win the third-down battle,' head coach Dirk Koetter said. 'We didn't do any of those things.'
Both teams would struggle in the beginning of the game trading punts twice before Cal would attempt a 41-yard field goal with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter. Cal kicker Mark Jensen would miss the attempt wide right leaving the game scoreless.
After again trading punts Cal would start their drive at the ASU 33-yard line aided by a 27-yard punt return by Jemeel Powell. Kyle Boller would find receiver Tom Swboda for a 16-yard gain and then two plays later for an 11-yard touchdown to put the Bears up 7-0.
ASU would begin driving down the field to close out the first quarter trailing 7-0.
As the second quarter began ASU's drive would stall at their own 34-yard line forcing a Tim Parker punt. On the ensuing return Cal would fumble the ball as it hit off of Eriksen on the return team only to be recovered by Jason Shivers of ASU at the California 27-yard line. The costly fumble would result in ASU's first score of the day, as Andrew Walter would find Shaun McDonald for a 28-yard touchdown evening up the score at 7-7.
On Cal's next series Boller would have his pass intercepted by Brett Hudson stopping the drive and giving the ASU offense the ball back with just under ten minutes to play in the half.
Walter would lead the team down the field again to the Cal five-yard line before Mike Barth would come in to make a 22-yard field goal to give ASU a 10-7 lead.
ASU would attempt an on-side kick following the score, but Cal would recover to start their drive at the Arizona State 47-yard line. Boller needed only one play as he found Lashaun Ward for a 47-yard touchdown pass to put the Golden Bears back on top 14-10.
The Sun Devils would not give up as Walter would again help drive the team down the field finding Shaun McDonald for a 68-yard touchdown to give the lead back to ASU 17-14.
Turnovers would begin to haunt ASU on their next offensive series thought. After the defense held Cal, forcing them to punt, Marcus Daniels of California would cause a Hakim Hill fumble, giving the ball back to the Bears at the ASU 14-yard line.
Cal would need three plays to take the lead back as Boller would find Makonnen for a nine-yard score, putting the Golden Bears back up 21-17.
ASU would get one more shot to put points on the board before halftime, but a Mike Barth field goal try from 51-yards out would be just short keeping Cal on top 21-17.
The teams would again trade punts to open the second half. On ASU's next possession kicker Tim Parker would get his fourth down punt attempt blocked by Cal defender Ryan Gutierrez and recovered by Wale Forrester for an 18-yard touchdown return giving Cal a 28-17 lead.
The Sun Devils would continue to fight back driving 80 yards on seven plays to cut the Cal lead to four points at 28-24. Two Skyler Fulton receptions, one for 46-yards and the other a 16-yard Sun Devil touchdown, would be the key plays in the drive.
The Devils' offense would attempt to take the lead back from Cal, but Andrew Walter would have his pass attempt intercepted by Cal defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha and returned 85-yards for a California touchdown giving them a 35-24 lead.
Andrew Walter would break the ASU single-season passing record on ASU's next series as he found Daryl Lightfoot for an 85-yard touchdown score. The play broke the previous passing record held by former Sun Devil and Dallas Cowboy great Danny White of 2,878 set in 1973. After a failed two-point conversion attempt the Devils trailed 35-30.
The Maroon and Gold defense would hold Cal to three yards on the next series giving the offense a chance to take the lead again. After driving 56 yards on eight plays Hakim Hill would punch in a two yard touchdown run set up by an earlier 14-yard run by Hill as well. With the score and a successful two-point conversion the Devils took the lead 38-35.
The Golden Bears would not go away as Boller would again lead his team down the field only to settle for a 48-yard Jensen field goal to tie the game at 38 apiece.
The Sun Devils would suffer another turnover deep in their own territory on the next series as Andrew Walter would be sacked, causing a fumble that was recovered by Cal at the ASU 13-yard line to end the third quarter.
Cal, hoping to give ASU it's first two game losing streak of the season, would shut down ASU in the fourth quarter allowing zero Sun Devil points. However, Cal would keep putting points on the board driving down the field again for a Jensen field goal giving them a 41-38 lead.
ASU would be forced to punt on its next possession giving Cal the opportunity to drive back down the field to add to their lead. Boller would go 80 yards in eight plays to find Joe Igber for a 17-yard touchdown putting Cal up for good 48-38.
Daryl Lightfoot would fumble a pass from Andrew Walter on their next play from scrimmage allowing Cal to have another short field from the ASU 30-yard line and all but ending the Sun Devils chance at a come back.
Boller would need only two plays as he found Makonnen for 28-yard and another Bears touchdown bringing the scoring to a close and the final score 55-38 in favor of the visitors.
'We didn't make plays when we needed to. When we were 7-2 we were making them,' commented senior linebacker Mason Unck. 'We need to get back to making these plays and doing the small things.'
GAME NOTES: Junior defensive end Terrell Suggs broke the Pac-10 and ASU single-season sack record with his sack of Cal QB Kyle Boller in the second quarter giving him 19.5 on the year. The former school record of 19 sacks was set by Al Harris in 1979 and the Pac-10 mark, shared by Arizona's Teddy Bruschi (1993) and USC's Tim Ryan (1989) was 19 as well. Suggs had already broke the NCAA sack mark of 17.5 and is now eyeing the ASU career sack record of 41 set by Shante Carver (1990-93) with is 39.5 career sacks...Sophomore quarterback Andrew Walter broke the ASU single-season passing record with is 477 yards and five touchdowns passing. The former record held by Danny White in 1973 was 2,878 yards. Walter entered the game in fourth all-time, but now stands in first with 2,992 yards...Walter also moved up the ASU single-season touchdown list with 25 second only to Mike Pagel in 1981 with 29...The 477 passing yards by Walter ranks as the fifth most in ASU single-game history and is the second most by Walter this year...The Walter to Lightfoot 85-yard touchdown catch is tied for the seventh longest passing play from scrimmage in ASU football history. The school record is a 95-yarder from Jeff Van Raaphorst to Aaron Cox vs. USC in 1985 for a touchdown...Junior wide receiver Shaun McDonald set the ASU single-season receiving yards mark at 1,207 with his six catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns vs. Cal. McDonald is also in third in Career receiving yards with 2,669 and tied for fifth with 140 career receptions. With two more touchdowns he now ranks third in ASU career history...Sophomore wide receiver Daryl Lightfoot recorded a career-high 163 yards with six catches in the game.