October 28, 2007

Cal-ASU: Post-game lagniappe

TEMPE, Az. --

First off, Why this?...


You mean Arizona State students rushed the field because the Sun Devils beat a team that came in with two losses and was ranked at No. 21? C'mon ASU fans, you're smarter than that. Save it for a win that really matters, like the 1996 win over No. 1 ranked Nebraska. This one just wasn't worth ruining a perfectly good goalpost.

Now, on to other things.

Player of the Game:
Easy. ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter.
Carp went 12-for-16 for 174 yards in the second half and looked like he was from another planet filled with superior beings in a galaxy far, far away. He was so cool, it's not even funny. Spot-on time and time again and making all the right decisions. He went just 5-for-13 for 45 yards in the first half. So his 180 was the key to the win - and a wicked, swarming defensive effort to boot.

Play of the Game:
Dimitri Nance's eight-yard touchdown run on 4th and 1 that put ASU ahead to stay at the 10:03 mark of the 3rd quarter. Especially considering that Nance looked like he was snuffed for a loss before bouncing outside to find paydirt. If not that play, then possibly the three times in the first half that ASU's defense forced Cal to settle for field goal attempts instead of touchdowns. If that doesn't happen, then Cal could've been up by as much as three touchdowns at halftime.

Post-game quote of note:
"We didn't really do anything big, just made an adjustment or two on both sides of the football. One thing about this team, when they go to halftime with a deficit, they still believe." - Dennis Erickson when asked what he did to change the game at halftime.

Next up:
Oh yeah. Lick your chops college football freaks. No. 4 (BCS) Arizona State takes its sparkling-clean record of 8-0 to Autzen Stadium and the No. 5(BCS) Oregon Ducks. Should be the biggest matchup of the weekend - rankings wise. Oh sure, there's that LSU vs. Nick Saban game in Tuscaloosa, but the ASU-UO game will match two teams in the Top 5.

Cal will play host to Washington State and hope to break this three game skid.

Cal-ASU: Final assessment? ASU is for real.

TEMPE, Az. --

It's becoming a habit.

As LSU found out at Kentucky, you can only mess with fire so many times. Guess who's messing with fire now? Yep, the Sun Devils. For the fourth time, Arizona State has gotten behind by double-digit amounts in the first half, only to come back to win the game.

First quarter score:
Cal - 13
ASU - 0

Final score:
Cal - 20
ASU - 31

This marks the sixth time in Devils history that they have started the season 8-0.

Tonight's turnaround was spearheaded by State quarterback Rudy Carpenter. Despite getting battered, beaten and going just 5-for-13 in the first half, he came out with a new purpose on the second half. In the telling third quarter alone, Carp went 7-of-9 for 143 yards.

He continued that trend in the second half, slicing the Bears for a pair of touchdown drives that put the game out of reach, 31-20 with seven minutes remaining. For the game, Rudy was 17-for-29, 219 yards and a touchdown.

The other big story was the revamped Sun Devil defense. After halftime, Cal was completely stymied and went without a third down conversion. They also intercepted Nate Longshore twice.

Guess who's next for Arizona State? A trip to Eugene to play the No. 5 ranked Ducks.

Cal-ASU: Longshore throws another pick. ASU goes for the throat

TEMPE, Az. --

For the second staight drive, Cal's Nate Longshore threw an interception, allowing ASU to take advantage of a short field. Rudy Carpenter then capped an 8-play drive by hitting Kyle Williams on a 12-yard inside slant route for paydirt.

ASU now leads 31-20 with just 7:07 remaining in the game.

Good night nurse! Has this game made a 180 or what?

Cal-ASU: "Today, we salute you Mr. Un-athletic sports talk radio guy"

TEMPE, Az. --

During the last break in action, the radio station that is broadcasting tonight's game played one of those brilliant "Real Men of Genius" radio spots from Budweiser.

This edition went something like this:

"Today, we salute you Mr. Un-athletic sports talk radio guy

You know more about the world of sports, except how to play them. You talk sports for eight hours a day, which is seven hours and 45 minutes longer than anyone listens.

Open up a cold fresh Budweiser, because we salute you Mr. Un-athletic sports talk radio guy."

Cal-ASU: Devils stay hotter than a pair of red sox, lead after three

TEMPE, Az. --

At the end of the 3rd quarter, it's now Arizona State 24, Cal 20.

Thomas Weber just blasted a 47-yard field goal through the uprights to boost ASU's lead from one to four. This has been another typical Sun Devil 3rd quarter domination as they have now outscored their opponents 92-17 this season.

In other words you night owls, DON'T GO TO SLEEP ON THESE SUN DEVILS. Go drink a Mountain Dew. Set your alarm to go off every two minutes. Stay awake. The game now heads to the final 15 minutes with all the momentum going to the maroon and gold side.

Cal-ASU: I'd like to welcome all of you that were watching the Red Sox game

TEMPE, Az. --

I'm sure most of you just went ahead and have gone to bed. You wimps. C'mon, we've got a bitchin' game here in the Valley of the Sun.

It's Arizona State leading 21-20 late in the 3rd Quarter.

For those of you still tuning in, congratulations. For those of you who have gone to bed and are reading this on Sunday morning - well LATER ON Sunday morning, you're missing a damn good game going on now. And you're still a wimp.

And by the way, the Red Sox are bad-ass. Not that I recommend pro sports on anyone, but if you have to watch pro sports, the World Series is one time you want to. Especially with Boston kickin' A like it is.

Cal-ASU: The Devils go all Les Miles on Cal, pulls ahead.

TEMPE, Az. --

Fourth down? ASU pulls an LSU and goes for it, and scores.

ASU must've made a deal with the Devil, 'coz they've just gone on 9-play, 91-yard go-ahead touchdown drive, getting a fourth down four-yard carry from Dmitri Nance to go ahead 21-20 here early in the 3rd quarter.

Again, that was a 91 yard drive. ASU only had 95 total yards in the first half alone. The ASU radio announcers are saying, "once again, Arizona State overcomes a double-digit first half deficit to pull ahead."

Cal-ASU: The best and worst mascots in college football

TEMPE, Az. --

Here's Sparky, the very athletic and enigmatic Sun Devil mascot. Easily the most entertaining mascot I've seen in all my years of covering college sports... with the possible exception of Montana's "Monte" the Grizzly.


Then there's the Cal Bear. Don't know his name, but this slouch should be called "Homer Simpson." He's a little goofy looking and has a horrible build. Sorry folks, I love Cal, just not their mascot.


October 27, 2007

Cal-ASU: It's past midnight (EST) so I'm SURE the Easterners are in bed now. This has been the longest first half in the history of amateur sports

TEMPE, Az. --

After three very long video replays, six time outs, 14 penalites marched-off and the usual amount of television timeouts, the first half has mercifully come to an end. This game started at 7:15pm and it's now 9:11pm. At some point I kept waiting for a game official to get on the p.a. and say, "that routine 2-yard run where nothing in particular really happened is being reviewed because we're sure something happenend."

Cal leads 20-14. They had the game seemingly well under control at one point, 13-0 and then again at 20-7, but ASU keeps scrapping its way back into this game. None-the-less, ASU deserves nothing better than a "C" grade

Check out these total yards numbers:
Cal- 270
ASU- 95

California should be up by a whole lot more but has settled for field goals and killed themselves with nine penalties.

Cal-ASU: The Devils aren't ready to wither away, score a TD.

TEMPE, Az. --

Just when I decided to start watching the ASU cheerleaders and dance squad instead of the Sun Devil offense, they go 65 yards in 12 plays, including a pair of 4th down conversions (one being a bone headed play on Cal's part for too many men on the field).

Somehow Arizona State is still in this game, cutting the UC lead to 20-14. Dmitri Nance got his second touchdown, running it in from two yards out.

It does appear that the Devils have found a soft underbelly in Cal's defense, since 60 of the 65 yards came on the ground. Run Devils run.

Cal-ASU: Bears score again, now up 20-7

TEMPE, Az. --

California didn't waste any time in displaying that they are, indeed, still the better team here tonight. DeSean Jackson scored a very unpopular touchdown on a 21-yard pass from Nate Longshore, though it appeared as if Jackson's foot was dragging on the white. The ASU fans booed like it was a Iranian parade.

I guess the whole "inconclusive" ruling must've come into play on that one. Because field judge Shane Anderson sure didn't make a confident touchdown call on the play. Ee-yah! Cal's getting the breaks for the most part.

And right now the ASU students are chanting what sounds something like "Bull-spit! Bull-spit!"

Total yards so far:
Cal: 224
ASU: 47

Cal-ASU: All that blustering about ASU? They're living up to it

TEMPE, Az. --

It's now Cal 13, ASU 7 after the Devils finally got, not only a first down, but a complete drive with a touchdown and everything.

Dmitri Nance scored on a touchdown run around the left side of the line. Carpenter looked sharp, including that long bomb that Michael Jones let bounce right off his hands. Jackie Smith, are you in the house?

7 plays
59 yards

Cal-ASU: Okay, all that blustering about ASU? Fuggedaboutit!

TEMPE, Az. --

Cal goes up 13-0 with just 1:13 left in the 1st quarter. This drive went 10 plays, 62 yards.

Cal is making minced meat of Arizona State's defense. Only positive for the Devils? They've held Cal to three straight field goal attempts. Two of them have been made.

The ASU radio announcers just said, "it's another one of those forgettable first quarters for ASU, only this time it's not Colorado or Washington State they're playing."

Cal-ASU: Devils crumbling so far. Cal up 10-0

TEMPE, Az. --

Jordan Kay just punched through a 41-yard field goal to put the Bears up by 10. That drive included a great, acrobatic 44-yard catch to help give the drive a boost.

So far the Devils aren't looking good at all. This resmbles the usual bumbling and stumbling that ASU has gotten off to in most of their games this season. So far this year, Arizona State has been outscored 56-33. The Devils also have yet to pick up a first down, having just gone three-and-out with the help of another penalty. Es no bueno por Diablos.

The drive for Cal:
6 plays
61 yards

Cal-ASU: No facemask, Cal scores defensive TD.

TEMPE, Az.--

Frosh D-End Cameron Jordan picked up a fumble by Rudy Carpenter and ran in the first score of the game. Rulon Davis ran roughshod at Carpenter, pulled him down by the collar and forced the fumble. Though the replay showed his big mitt slid across the facemask first. But no grab, so no call.

By the way, with UCLA's loss to Washington State up in the Palouse, ASU now has a chance to grab sole possession of first place in the Pac 10. Although most of the buzz around the press box is that Oregon is playing the best football and is the team to beat. See? When you get down to it, even fellow Arizona media members don't believe in this team. Tsk. Tsk.

Cal-ASU: Know what this is? It's the current East Coast time

TEMPE, Az. --


And this is also the start time of tonight's ASU-Cal game. So that's why not many people back East know much about the Sun Devils (I'm looking your direction Harris Poll voters with a 10pm curfew!)

All five of ASU's previous home games this season have started at 7pm Pacific Time or later.

Cal-ASU: Welcome to Barry Bonds country

TEMPE, Az.--

Feel free to hiss or cheer that fact, but here we are in Tempe, Arizona.


No. 7 Arizona State and No. 21 California are about 30 minutes away from kick off. Although the game is officially a sell-out, maybe ASU fans are like L.A. sports fans, fashionably late. Because the stands are still largely barren - except for the student section of course.

One thing to keep an eye on is the heat. At 5:00, my car temperature guage showed 95 degrees. Al Gore may be onto something there. Here's another factor to keep an eye on during the game, Cal's sideline is equipped with six of those Big Fogg misters. ASU's slideline doesn't have anything for the heat relief.


Cal-ASU: Additional Pre-game notes

Some more notes on the upcoming Cal-Arizona State game.

- First some pre-game MUSICAL notes

(The Gore Gore Girls stying and profilin' on their amps)

A pre-game party at Club Red here in Tempe was highlighted by an outstanding high-heeled/mini-skirt clad performance from Detroit's The Gore Gore Girls. Led by lead singer Amy Gore (in all white) and guitarist Hammer, the Gores ripped through an 18-song set of outstanding garage rock ditties. No chants of overrated were heard during the hour-twenty minute show.

- Sold Out.
The 71,716-seat Sun Devil Stadium is officially sold out for the Cal game Saturday night. There will also be a national TV audience watching on Fox Sports Net as part of a Pac 10 triple-header. Then again, that's only available to those people with satellite TV or cable systems that carry the Fox Sports network. Otherwise, I guess it's not exactly "national television" is it?

Continue reading "Cal-ASU: Additional Pre-game notes" »

October 26, 2007

Cal-ASU: The Day-Before Preview


And now, 2007?

Listed above are all the once-a-decade teams that Arizona State has had that made a major splash on the national college football scene. So far, this year's Sun Devil squad is a perfect 7-0. But this five-game stretch to end the season will be as tough as any team in the country has to go through.

Tomorrow's game against Cal will be either a coming out party for the Devils or a "told-you-so" raspberry from the rest of the country. Since we all know so much about this year's California team, I've decided to treat this game as a chance for the nation to see what Arizona State is all about. Be it legit. Or a farce.

Continue reading "Cal-ASU: The Day-Before Preview" »


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