5:00 PM ET, November 8, 2003
Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- J.R. Lemon's teammates have been teasing him about regaining his strength, insisting he'd be better off blocking as a fullback.
That's not going to happen.
Lemon pounded his way to a career-high 151 yards on 34 carries and scored two touchdowns, and Stanford recorded a season-high point total to defeat sluggish Arizona State 38-27 on Saturday.
Chris Lewis ran for a score and passed for two more as just about everything went right again for the Cardinal (4-4, 2-4 Pac-10), a week after their 21-14 upset of UCLA. Lewis finished 18-of-34 for 279 yards as Stanford compiled 467 yards of offense, despite playing through a steady rain in the second half.
If the last two games are any indication, the Cardinal seem to be finding the consistency that coach Buddy Teevens has been striving for all season.
Lemon came up big in place of leading rusher Kenneth Tolon, who hurt his thumb in a warmup drill before the game and played only the first snap. Lemon's totals were the most for a Stanford running back since 1997. His previous best was 103 yards in a 31-10 win against San Jose State in the season opener Sept. 6.
Lemon has gained about nine pounds after losing weight due to offseason shoulder surgery, giving rise to the playful razzing. The Cardinal don't even use a conventional fullback in their offense. At 225, Lemon outweighs Tolon by 35 pounds.
"Maybe that got to him a little bit," Teevens said with a grin. "He didn't look like a fullback today. He ran the ball hard."
Lemon scored on runs of 1 and 10 yards as Stanford remained bowl eligible.
"Any running back wants to get the ball in their hands as much as possible," said Lemon, who learned of Tolon's injury just 20 minutes before kickoff. "It kind of caught me off guard a little bit. But the key to our season has been our ability to switch and substitute when necessary."
Evan Moore caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Lewis on the first play of the fourth quarter, then was down for several minutes before being helped off the field by several members of the training staff and carted away with an apparent left ankle injury. Moore is also planning to play power forward on the Stanford basketball team. Teevens said he didn't consider the injury serious.
Arizona State (4-6, 1-5) couldn't manage anything close to the offensive production it had in a 65-24 rout of the Cardinal last season. Andrew Walter threw touchdown passes of 67, 46 and 8 yards to Derek Hagan, but the Sun Devils defense allowed Stanford the most points since the Cardinal scored 63 in last year's opener against San Jose State. Stanford also ran up a season-best yardage total.
"Every loss is devastating, but if you play the game like we did you can't expect to win," Walter said. "We turned the ball over twice down there and that hurt us. We don't make plays offensively when we have the chance to make them. Those are problems."
Hagan finished with four catches for 138 yards and Walter was 23-for-53 for 357 yards.
The Pac-10 coaches have been saying all along that Stanford has big-play potential, and the Cardinal are finally showing it.
In Arizona State's opening series, Walter's pass hit off the back of linebacker Mike Silva and Trevor Hooper picked it off, his second interception in as many games.
Stanford immediately capitalized when Lewis scurried 11 yards for a touchdown on the first play, using eight seconds.
The Sun Devils punted on their next two possessions, then Loren Wade fumbled deep in Stanford territory the following offensive series and Cardinal nose tackle Babatunde Oshinowo recovered. Arizona State got a break when Stanley Wilson tipped a pass by Lewis and Michael Lovelady intercepted.
Lemon's 1-yard touchdown run made it 14-0 with 9:07 left in the first quarter. The score was set up by Lewis' 46-yard pass completion to Moore -- the Cardinal's second-longest play from scrimmage this fall.
Lemon set up his second TD with a 32-yard run -- Stanford's longest rush of the season. Then he scored on a 10-yard burst into the open in the second quarter.
Hagan scored on a 67-yard pass play from Walter 26 seconds later, breaking three tackles as he tiptoed along the sidelines on the way to the end zone to make it 21-7.
"They went up on us and we didn't come back," Hagan said. "They played harder than us in the first half. When we scored I felt we were back in the game, but they kept putting up points."
Wade failed to go over 100 yards rushing for the first time in four games. He finished with 55 yards on 12 carries because he was slowed by a concussion.