Sun Devils Scorch Northwestern On Road 30-21
Sept. 11, 2004
By DAVE CARPENTER
Associated Press Writer
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - Andrew Walter threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns and Arizona State held Northwestern's tandem of quarterback Brett Basanez and receiver Jonathan Fields in check Saturday en route to a 30-21 win.
Walter connected with speedy wide receiver Derek Hagan for two long scoring plays that gave the Sun Devils (2-0) the lead for good in the first half, then hit Terry Richardson for a third-quarter touchdown that gave them a commanding 17-point advantage.
Jesse Ainsworth kicked two of his three field goals in the final period as Arizona State held off a Northwestern rally.
The Wildcats (0-2) failed to get into the end zone through the air after entering the game with the nation's leaders in passing and receiving from the previous week's 48-45 loss at TCU.
Basanez finished with 21-for-38 attempts for 238 yards - less than half of the school-record 513 passing yards he had in the opener - and was held to just 75 yards in the first half when the Wildcats fell behind. Fields, who had 202 receiving yards a week earlier, was limited to just 32 yards on five catches.
Noah Herron ran for 105 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries for Northwestern but was outrushed by Arizona State's Loren Wade, who had 108 yards in 24 attempts.
Walter completed just 2 of his first 11 passes before finishing 19-for-36 with no interceptions.
Northwestern mounted a fourth-quarter drive and was threatening to score the go-ahead touchdown with less than eight minutes remaining when safety Riccardo Stewart jarred the ball loose from Jordan and Ishmael Thrower recovered at the Arizona State 18. The Sun Devils then clinched the win with a time-consuming, 81-yard drive that ended with Ainsworth's 18-yard field goal with 1:19 left.
Ainsworth's 20-yard field goal opened the scoring for the visitors late in the first quarter.
Northwestern answered with an 80-yard scoring drive featuring Herron, who capped it off with runs of 22 yards and then a 9-yard TD burst.
Hagan then found holes in the Wildcats' shaky secondary to score twice. The wideout was left all alone in the middle on a 47-yard catch-and-run play that gave the Sun Devils the lead. Six minutes later, he sprinted straight toward the end zone on third-and-11 from the 41 and caught a perfectly placed pass from Walter to make it 17-7 at halftime.
Arizona State appeared to be running away with the game when Richardson lunged into the end zone to grab a 30-yard touchdown pass for a 24-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
But Northwestern came back with a pair of touchdowns. Terrell Jordan ran 25 yards for a TD and Basanez scored on a 13-yard keeper to cut it to 24-21.