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September 30, 2007

ASU dominates Cardinal

Stanford, Calif. -- The No. 18 ASU football team is one of 13 undefeated teams left in the country thanks to a 41-3 dominating road victory over the Stanford Cardinal last night.

The win ended a 14-game road losing streak in the state of California, and moved the Sun Devils five spots in the latest AP poll.

"I thought we ran the ball pretty well and made plays [in the passing game] when we had to," coach Dennis Erickson said after the game. "It was a win, on the road in California for the first time in awhile."

After a slow start offensively, ASU took over the game thanks to a pair of touchdowns on back-to-back plays from both sides of the ball.

On a crucial third down late in the second quarter, senior wide receiver Rudy Burgess made a catch over the middle, and then proceeded to make a few sharp cuts down the field on his way to a 62-yard touchdown. Burgess led all receivers with seven catches for 137 yards.

After the Sun Devils converted a two-point conversion to make the score 14-0, freshman cornerback Omar Bolden intercepted T.C. Ostrander's pass after Robert James deflected it into the air. Bolden grabbed the ball and took, scoring from 29-yards out with an emphatic dive into the end zone.

"When the ball went up in the air, my eyes lit up," he said of his first career interception.

Bolden envisioned returning an interception for a touchdown after watching his teammate's pick-off five passes the week before against Oregon St.

"The whole time in the locker room before the game, I'm like 'If the ball goes in the air, and I can get it - I'm going to score," he said.

The 14-point swing was devastating for the Cardinal, who gave Rudy Carpenter trouble with multiple blitzes in the first half, only allowing two field goals up to that point.

"They had me a little confused in the first half," Carpenter said on a night where he completed 20-of-27 passes for 259 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. "They showed a few blitzes that we haven't really seen - that's why we started off slow."

While the offense struggled to pick up first downs with the passing game because of difficulty with blitz protection, the defense had no trouble in the first half only allowing a late field goal.

With a defensive line, that saw Dane Guthrie playing defensive tackle for a couple of plays, and the return of Saia Falahola, ASU limited the Cardnial to negative two net yards rushing.

Stanford's two running backs, Anthony Kimble and Jeremy Stewart averaged 2.0 and 2.3 yards per carry on the night.

"We played great on defense," Erickson said. "We gave the offense opportunities when they were weren't moving the ball."

ASU stopped the Cardinal 12 times on third down and sacked Ostrander seven times.

In the second half, the Sun Devils relied on the running game to drain the clock, as both Ryan Torain and Keegan Herring ran for 106, and 88 yards respectively.

Herring had the run of the night, when he broke free down the ASU sideline for a 72-yard touchdown run.

"I was excited for Keegan," Carpenter said. "It's good for him to get his due too."

Even junior Dimitri Nance punched in a 17-yard touchdown late in the game. ASU picked up 226 yards on 41 carries.

With their first road win under their belt, the Sun Devils will look to win their next business trip, when they take on Washington State, in Pullman.

"Momentum is everything in football, if we have momentum, we are going to roll," Bolden said.


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