9:00 PM ET, November 11, 2006
Sun Devil Stadium, TEMPE, AZ
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The wide-open Arizona State offense that was coach Dirk Koetter's trademark in years back made a comeback on Saturday night.
Rudy Carpenter -- looking like the super-freshman of last season and not the struggling sophomore of this year -- threw for a season-best 339 yards and three touchdown passes and the Sun Devils rolled to a surprisingly one-sided 47-14 victory over Washington State.
"Coach came up to me before the game and told me `We're going back to old-school ASU," Carpenter said, "and I said, `You know I'm ready."
Carpenter completed 15 of 24 with one interception before leaving the game with nine minutes to play. His scoring passes went 50 yards to Matt Jones, 34 yards to Chris McGaha and 62 yards to Brandon Smith.
"I did say that to Rudy during warmups," Koetter said. "I just told him we needed to take our shots, and we hit a few of them tonight. It's been a while since we've done that."
In by far their best half of the season, the Sun Devils scored on all six possessions -- three touchdowns and three field goals -- to go up 30-7 at half. They scored the first time they had the second half, too, on Smith's fingertip catch of Carpenter's long throw to take a 37-7 lead with 9:39 to go in the third quarter.
"Rudy was on fire tonight," said ASU tight end Zach Miller, who caught six passes for 84 yards. "He made one mistake with that interception but other than that he was putting it up there and letting his receivers make plays."
Jesse Ainsworth kicked a career-high four field goals, including his two longest of the season at 46 and 47 yards, for the Sun Devils (6-4, 3-4 Pac-10), who became bowl-eligible with the victory.
The Cougars (6-5, 4-4 Pac-10) -- who played without their top two receivers Michael Bumpus and Jason Hill because of ankle injuries -- were ranked 25th nationally just two weeks ago but lost consecutive games to Arizona and Arizona State.
"I didn't see this coming, being honest with you," Cougars coach Bill Doba said. "I thought we'd be able to compete, and I thought we could win. I know we're beat up, but so are they, so I don't have any excuses."
Ryan Torain rushed for 84 yards in 19 carries for the Sun Devils, who amassed a 562-192 advantage in yards.
WSU's Alex Brink, Pac-10 total offense leader entering the game, completed 14-of-30 for 161 yards and two scores but was intercepted twice. The Cougars managed only 27 yards rushing in 19 carries.
"I don't know what the heck happened until we take a look at the tape," Doba said, "but we had guys running through the secondary, we had guys missing tackles and we got no push from the offensive line. You have to be able to run the ball a little bit."
The Arizona State offense, sputtering and struggling most of the season, overwhelmed the Cougars for 298 first-half yards. Carpenter completed 11-of-17 for 229 yards and two scores in the first two quarters.
The Sun Devils took the opening kickoff and went 66 yards in five plays. Carpenter threw 34 yards to Brent Miller on the first play of the game, and had a 21-yarder to brother Zach Miller on the drive. Torain scored on a three-yard run.
The Cougars followed with a three-and-out but Arizona State's Kyle Williams muffed the punt and Eric Frampton recovered for Washington State at the Sun Devils' 36. Three plays later, Brink threw 10 yards to Charles Dillon for the score and it was 7-7.
Ainsworth's 34-yard field goal put Arizona State up 10-7, then Carpenter connected with Jones on a 50-yard touchdown play to make it 17-7 with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Ainsworth's 46-yarder put ASU ahead 20-7, then Carpenter found McGaha wide open on a 34-yard touchdown and the Sun Devils led 27-7 with 5:53 left in the half.
The Cougars finally appeared to have stopped the Sun Devils, but Carpenter went back into punt formation on fourth-and-one from the ASU 43 and threw 12 yards to Brent Miller to keep the drive alive. Ainsworth's 47-yarder with 24 seconds left capped the first-half outburst.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-12||8-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||1-2|
|TD||12:41||RYAN TORAIN 3 YD RUN (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||9:21||CHARLES DILLON 9 YD PASS FROM ALEX BRINK (ROMEEN ABDOLLMOHAMMADI KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 36 yards.
|FG||5:29||JESSE AINSWORTH 34 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 48 yards.
|TD||2:06||MICHAEL JONES 50 YD PASS FROM RUDY CARPENTER (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 66 yards.
|FG||12:16||JESSE AINSWORTH 46 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 32 yards.
|TD||5:53||CHRIS MCGAHA 34 YD PASS FROM RUDY CARPENTER (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 60 yards.
|FG||0:24||JESSE AINSWORTH 47 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 36 yards.
|TD||11:59||JED COLLINS 6 YD PASS FROM ALEX BRINK (ROMEEN ABDOLLMOHAMMADI KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||9:39||BRANDON SMITH 62 YD PASS FROM RUDY CARPENTER (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 79 yards.
|FG||12:59||JESSE AINSWORTH 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 15 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||0:14||PRESTON JONES 1 YD RUN (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 59 yards.