Iowa Defense Too Strong For Sun Devils
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Nathan Chandler threw three touchdown passes and No.18 Iowa frustrated 16th-ranked Arizona State with outstanding defense in a 21-2victory Saturday night.
Fred Russell added 154 yards rushing in 27 carries for the Hawkeyes (4-0),off to their best start since 1997. Arizona State (2-1) couldn't capitalize onthe momentum from an early safety and struggled against an Iowa defense thatwas able to pressure quarterback Andrew Walter with a four-man rush.
Arizona State, which had been averaging 404.5 yards and 30 points a game,was held to 24 yards rushing and 184 total yards.
Chandler floundered early and his fumble led to the safety. But he camethrough with touchdown passes of 40 yards to Ramon Ochoa and 2 yards to ErikJensen in the second quarter and hit Ochoa on a 3-yard scoring play in thethird quarter.
The way Iowa's defense was playing, that was more than enough. Walter, whohad thrown six touchdown passes in the first two games, rarely had time to lookdownfield and his longest gain was 16 yards. He finished 25-of-44 for 160 yardsand one interception.
After Walter's 16-yard pass to fullback Mike Karney on the first play of thesecond quarter, Arizona State did not make another first down until the 5:58mark in the third quarter - and that was on a roughing the passer penalty.
The touchdown catches were the first of his career for Ochoa, a senior whohad played little before this season. He became Chandler's primary target inthe absence of leading receiver Maurice Brown, sidelined by an ankle injury.Ochoa finished with four receptions for 64 yards.
Chandler was 15-of-23 for 154 yards.
The Hawkeyes lost another starting receiver when Ed Hinkel was injured on asecond-quarter punt return. The school did not immediately reveal the nature ofhis injury.
Iowa's average starting position on its first five possessions was its own16 and coach Kirk Ferentz played it conservatively. Once the Hawkeyes got alittle better field position, they opened things up.
Taking over at its own 37 midway through the second quarter, Iowa neededonly three plays to score. On first down at the Arizona State 40, Ochoa spuncornerback Mike Davis around with a fake to the outside, cut inside and was infull stride when he caught Chandler's pass in the end zone.
After the Iowa defense forced a three-and-out, Hinkel's 14-yard punt returngave the Hawkeyes the ball at the ASU 41. Chandler completed passes of 23 yardsto Calvin Davis and 13 yards to Ochoa before hitting Jensen for the touchdownand a 14-2 lead.
Russell's 38-yard run to the ASU 11 set up Chandler's final TD pass toOchoa.
Iowa's early struggles included a bad snap to Chandler in shotgun formationat the Iowa 22. Blitzing safety Riccardo Stewart clobbered Chandler after hegot control of the ball and it squirted toward the end zone. Arizona State'sBrett Hudson had a chance at the bouncing ball but couldn't pick it up and Iowacenter Brian Ferentz fell on it in the end zone for a safety.
Arizona State had a great opportunity a few minutes later when JasonShivers' interception put the Sun Devils at the Iowa 21. But Walter forced apass into a crowded end zone and Iowa's Jovon Johnson picked it off.
By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
AP Sports Writer