No. 7 California Shuts Down No. 20 Arizona State
Oct. 31, 2004
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - J.J. Arrington ran for 188 yards and a score, andseventh-ranked California forced five turnovers in its second straight shutoutvictory, beating No. 20 Arizona State 27-0 on Saturday night.
Tim Mixon returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown for the GoldenBears (6-1, 4-1 Pac-10), whose increasingly dominant defense held Sun Devilsquarterback Andrew Walter without a TD pass while posting consecutive shutoutsfor the first time since 1968.
Cal blanked Arizona 38-0 last week before shutting down Walter and the SunDevils' high-powered offense. Arizona State failed to score inside the 10 inthe closing minutes, and Cal ran out the clock on the Sun Devils' first shutoutloss since Sept. 30, 1995.
There might be even more good news for the Bears on Sunday: After losses byNo. 3 Miami and fifth-ranked Florida State, they seem poised to reach the topfive for the first time since 1952.
Freshman Robert Jordan caught seven passes for 116 yards and a touchdown inhis second collegiate game, but Aaron Rodgers struggled to connect with hisinjury-plagued receiving corps. Rodgers threw a touchdown pass on the Bears'first play, but was held to 165 yards passing.
So Cal relied on Arrington, who had another impressive performance. Hereached 1,000 yards faster than any player in Cal history with hisschool-record seventh straight 100-yard game, and his 1-yard TD dive in thefourth quarter put it away.
Walter passed for 238 yards for the Sun Devils (6-2, 3-2), who got theirsecond blowout loss in three games after starting the season with five straightwins. Walter also failed to throw a touchdown pass, leaving him one TD throwbehind John Elway's Pac-10 career record of 77.
The latest-starting game in Memorial Stadium's history was played under fourstanchions of temporary lights. Cal's 52,652 chilled fans still packed thehouse for Berkeley's first meeting of ranked teams since 1993.
The Sun Devils made just two turnovers in their first five games, butthey've made 10 in the last three. Arizona State lost four of its five fumbles,and Walter's lone interception was returned for a score that broke open thegame.
With veteran receivers Chase Lyman and Burl Toler sidelined by injuries, theBears relied heavily on Jordan, a touted prospect expected to redshirt theseason until the injuries forced his activation last week. Jordan made severalmistakes, running incorrect routes and dropping balls, but also showed off hispotential.
Cal's offense wasn't in its usual form all day, with Rodgers managing just117 yards passing in the first half - but Arizona State's offense couldn'treach Cal territory until early in the third quarter.
Walter and the Sun Devils got increasingly impatient with Cal's steadydefense, trying ever more difficult passes - until Walter lost sight of Mixon,who stepped in front of a pass at midfield and returned it for the firsttouchdown of his career.
The Sun Devils got inside the Cal 10 on Hakim Hill's 57-yard run momentslater, but Jesse Ainsworth missed a short field goal. Hill ran for 104 yardsafter his mysterious benching last week.
Turnovers plagued the Sun Devils from the opening kickoff in Berkeley whenJosh Golden fumbled - though television replays showed he was probably downbefore the ball came loose. Rodgers immediately found Jordan in the rightcorner of the end zone with a perfect scoring pass just 20 seconds in.
Cal got another break moments later when Tom Schneider's 48-yard field goalbounced off the crossbar, hit the television camera between the uprights andplopped back on the field. Officials initially ruled the kick no good, thenreversed themselves after realizing what happened.