6:30 PM ET, October 29, 2005
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Redshirt freshman Rudy Carpenter is Arizona State's new starting quarterback. The job appears to be in good hands.
Carpenter threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns in his first collegiate start Saturday and the Sun Devils ended a three-game skid with a 44-20 victory over Washington.
All three touchdown passes were to Matt Miller, for 12, 69 and 10 yards. Miller, a senior, had five catches for a career-high 139 yards. Derek Hagan caught nine for 115 yards to move to third in the Pac-10 in career receptions with 236.
Carpenter, playing in place of injured Sam Keller, completed 27 of 34 passes with no interceptions, but was sacked seven times behind Arizona State's injury-depleted offensive line.
"Those were some of the best passes I've had in my career here," Miller said. "They were right there. I don't know what it is with Rudy, but he was just throwing perfect balls tonight."
After the game, Sun Devils coach Dirk Koetter announced that Keller -- the starter in the first seven games -- is out for the season and would undergo surgery next week to repair ligament damage in his right thumb. He was injured against Oregon three weeks ago. Koetter said he knew then that surgery would be required but had hoped to put it off until after the regular season.
In the meantime, Koetter had said the injury was a sprain.
"I originally told you sprain because I didn't want you guys to know more than that," Koetter told reporters.
Carpenter's 401 yards were second-most by a freshman quarterback in Arizona State history. Jeff Krohn threw for 432 against Oregon in 2000.
"I was just trying to complete passes wherever I could," Carpenter said. "I just wanted to get out here with a win. I didn't care how well I played. We have three more games and hopefully I'll get an opportunity in those games."
Carpenter credited Keller.
"He's been in my ear all week about certain coverages," Carpenter said. "I don't get a chance to play a lot. Coming off the field he was just telling me what they were doing, certain stunts and blitzes they were bringing, making sure that I was still calm and keeping my head in the game."
James Sims, who started the season at fullback, rushed for a career-best 140 yards in 24 carries Washington, including touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards. Sims started because Louis Rankin was out with a sprained toe.
The Sun Devils (4-4, 2-3 Pac-10) had not won since beating Oregon State on Sept. 24.
The Huskies were intercepted twice and fumbled the ball away twice.
"It is difficult to tell how well we played," Washington coach Tyrone Willingham said. "We had some good things going for us but the taste of losing clouds that right now."
Washington (1-7, 0-5) trailed only 24-20 until Arizona State put the game away with three touchdowns in the final 5:04. The game ended with Josh Golden's 58-yard interception return for the Sun Devils.
Arizona State went 64 yards in 10 plays, throwing 10 yards to Miller to put the Sun Devils ahead 31-20 with 5:04 to go. Jamar Williams intercepted Isaiah Stanback's pass on Washington's next possession. The Sun Devils went 51 yards in eight plays. Preston Jones' 10-yard touchdown run boosted the lead to 38-20 with 1:09 remaining.
Carpenter picked up where he left off last week in the team's 45-35 loss at Stanford, when he was 19-for-25 for 304 yards and three TDs in the second half after ASU fell behind 45-7.
Washington's only lead was at 3-0. Carpenter's 1-yard sneak put Arizona State up 7-3, then Stanback fumbled and Dale Robinson got the first of his two recoveries, this one at the Arizona State 43. Carpenter went 5-for-6 on the subsequent drive, capped by a 12-yard pass to Miller to make it 14-3.
But the Huskies moved the ball consistently on the ground. They went 74 yards in nine plays without throwing a pass. Sims' 1-yard run cut the lead to 14-10.
Carpenter's 69-yard pass play to Miller over the middle quickly made it 21-10. A seven-play, 73-yard drive, with Sims running 3 yards for the score, cut the lead to 21-17 with 1:48 remaining in the half. Jesse Ainsworth, who also took over punting in the game for beleaguered Chris MacDonald, kicked a 21-yard field goal as the half ended to put Arizona State ahead 24-17.
The Huskies rushed for 213 yards.
Stanback said this loss hurt worse than all the others.
"In the fourth quarter, I don't know what I was doing," he said. "I wanted to make a play so bad."