STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- A few weeks ago, every look at the
Stanford sideline was an adventure for Trent Edwards.
These days, the Cardinal quarterback knows a whole lot more
about those plays coming in from the coaches -- and Edwards used
that clarity to lead the most impressive win yet in Stanford's
Edwards passed for career-highs of 303 yards and three
touchdowns, and Stanford scored 38 consecutive points in coach Walt
Harris' first home victory, 45-35 over reeling Arizona State on
Mark Bradford caught nine passes for 185 yards, including two
long TD passes in the second quarter while the Cardinal (4-2, 3-1
Pac-10) pulled away from Arizona State for their third straight
win. Stanford led 45-7 midway through the third quarter before
coasting to the finish.
Edwards went 19-of-27 as he calmly directed Stanford's offense
to 38 points in the first 36 minutes. The junior has matured along
with his teammates this season, and his poised performance against
the Sun Devils (3-4, 1-3) was his most impressive yet.
"I was really keyed in to where their defense was," Edwards
said. "Coach Harris has done an incredible job, but it took a
while for all of us to get together. I'm taking the signals from
the sideline now, and I'm amazed by how much we're on the same
Anthony Kimble caught a TD pass and ran for another score, and
Stanford blocked two punts to win three straight conference games
for the first time since 1999.
It was a breakthrough victory for Harris, the longtime Pitt
coach who already has erased memories of three straight losing
seasons for the Cardinal under fired Buddy Teevens. Stanford
narrowly won each of its first three road games under Harris, but
was 0-2 at Stanford Stadium -- including a last-minute loss to
Division I-AA UC Davis last month when Edwards got hurt early.
Harris isn't ready to celebrate just yet, however.
"They way we finished the game showed we've got a long way to
go as a team," Harris said. "I'm glad we won. I want to learn to
finish better, but I understand why it happened."
Rudy Burgess caught a TD pass and ran for a score for the Sun
Devils, whose once-promising season has plummeted with three
straight losses. Arizona State hasn't won at Stanford since 1997.
Quarterback Sam Keller was cleared to start for Arizona State
despite an injured thumb, shoulder and ankle -- but the Bay Area
native struggled, throwing for just 98 ineffective yards before
getting benched in the third quarter.
"This stings a little bit," Keller said. "We're not used to
this. It stinks."
Keller's replacement, freshman Rudy Carpenter, threw an
interception on his third play that was returned 26 yards for a
score by linebacker Mike Silva. But Carpenter recovered to lead a
series of impressive drives resulting in 28 points, throwing TD
passes to Burgess, Terry Richardson and Brent Miller to trim
Stanford's huge lead.
"I practice every day like I'm going to play," Carpenter said.
"I still made mistakes like everybody else. I'm frustrated that we
lost. We came out here and knew we had to win."
Carpenter went 19-of-25 for 304 yards, probably creating a
quarterback controversy for coach Dirk Koetter. Richardson had six
catches for 119 yards.
Arizona State was ranked 14th before a heartbreaking 38-28 loss
to USC on Oct. 1 -- and the Sun Devils then were beaten 31-17 at
home by Oregon before their bye week. Now they must win three of
their final four games just to become bowl-eligible.
"The last two games, we haven't shown up to play," Koetter
said. "We have to become a more disciplined football team. I'm at
a loss as to why. I thought we were well-prepared, (but) for 2½
quarters, we had no emotion."
Stanford's first score came one play after its first blocked
punt, recovered by Jon Alston at the Arizona State 15. Edwards'
short pass bounced high off Kimble's hand -- but Kimble managed to
catch his own deflection, then romped into the end zone.
Starting with Kimble's 2-yard TD run late in the first quarter,
Stanford turned a 7-7 game into a 45-7 blowout. The Cardinal
blocked two punts and also forced punter Chris MacDonald into an
illegal kick on a third, scoring points on all three mistakes.
Bradford caught TD passes of 32 and 31 yards in the second
quarter, with his first catch capping an impressive 86-yard drive.
"A couple of those throws, it was just about who was the best
playmaker," Bradford said. "It started happening within the last
two weeks: Everybody started looking within themselves, and the
coaches really came down hard on us. We've definitely locked it in