October 1, 2007

Stanford Report Card

A dominating 41-3 win over Stanford moved Arizona State to 5-0 for only the third time since 1982. It was the first time the team had won a road game in Calfornia in seven years and first win at Stanford since 1997. Here, we've graded each Sun Devil position group for its performance in the win.

Quarterback:

Junior Rudy Carpenter had a respectable night throwing for 259 yards on 20-of-27 attempts with a touchdown and an interception against a suspect Stanford defense. He would have had more yards if not for a drop by junior wide receiver Mike Jones on a deep play-action fake down the sideline. Carpenter showed the ability to make accurate throws on the move but he himself admitted that his slow decision-making was part of the reason for the six sacks allowed. The Sun Devils stalled a bit in the red zone but Carpenter had a ho-hum type of performance. Definitely good, hard to call it great. The completion percentage is certainly very solid, especially with one or two drops. Carpenter continues to be very accurate. Because his numbers came against a below-average defense, he perhaps held the ball a bit long at times, and his 1-to-1 TD/INT ratio was nothing to write home about, Carpenter will receive a grade of a B-.

Running Back:

With the opposing defense gearing up to stop him, senior Ryan Torain averaged 6.4 yards per carry, but was held out of the end zone. Torain led ASU with 103 yards on 16 carries, and junior backups Keegan Herring and Dimitri Nance both scored from 72 and 17 yards respectively. Herring's run was broken off the left side with some excellent run blocking at the line of scrimmage. The backs, especially Torain, had trouble picking up the Stanford blitz which led to at least two of the sacks and with that there is room for concern. Because of the troubles in blocking as well as lack of pass-catching out of the back field (though it may not have been necessary), the running backs will earn a B.

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