August 12, 2008

2008: Grading the non-conference schedules

(http://www.sportsline.com/collegefootball/story/10921040)

We've created a vicious cycle in college football. Sure we all love the fact that just about every game is on TV nowadays. And because coaches and athletic directors want their teams to look good on TV, so they schedule a lot of limp fish opponents. Because wins beget bowl games. Bowl games begets job security. Job security begets more money. Thus, more money is insured by wins. You spin me right round baby right round, like a record.

No longer do college football teams across the country take chances. Or, well, rarely do they. Have you noticed how boring Septembers have become, except for the occasional Appy State upset of Michigan or Ohio State showdown with Texas?

Continue reading "2008: Grading the non-conference schedules" »

December 28, 2007

A Happy Holiday Bowl For Texas

SAN DIEGO - Tabbed as a BCS-worthy squad prior to the start of the 2007 season, few prognosticators believed Texas would wind up in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. But as everyone would soon come to find out, not much would go according to plan in the college football world this past season and that the entire landscape would be turned on its head.


Continue reading "A Happy Holiday Bowl For Texas" »

Texas with 52 points on Charles run

SAN DIEGO - The Longhorns toppled the 50-point mark when Jamaal Charles, who was already having a monster of a game, scored with 2:24.

Texas 52, ASU 34 with 2:24 remaining

No quit in ASU

SAN DIEGO - Give ASU credit. They're not folding despite it being nearly impossible to climb back into this thing. Jarrell Woods just scored from a couple yards out to cap a methodical ASU scoring drive.

Texas 45, ASU 34 with 3:40 remaining

December 27, 2007

Too little, too late

SAN DIEGO - An impressive drive by ASU, as Dany Sullivan finds Michael Jones in the end zone. But it took way too long for the Sun Devils to find their scoring touch in this one.

Texas 45, ASU 27 with 8:49 remaining

Texas flexes its collective muscles

SAN DIEGO - Vondrell McGee scampers virtually untouched into the end zone to make the 2007 edition of the Holiday Bowl an official blowout.
Apparently it was a leap year for the "most exiting bowl game of the season."

Texas 45, ASU 20 with 11:03 remaining in the contest

The finishing touches

SAN DIEGO - With 12: 55 to go in the 4th, Ryan Bailey boots a gimme of a field goal to put Texas ahead 38-20. Barring the miraculous, the Longhorns have this one snatched up.

ASU keeps breathing on Carpenter TD pass

SAN DIEGO - A prime-time return by Rudy Burgess gives ASU the ball at their own 49-yard-line. It will be interesting to see what the ASU offense can muster.

On 3rd down, Carpenter throws off his back foot and miraculously finds Michael Jones in the end zone for a sterling 22-yard TD pass.

This keeps Arizona State alive, but-not-so-well, as they find themselves in a 15-point deficit, 35-20, with 2:49 left in the third.

The Stars align for the 'Horns

SAN DIEGO - Marcus Griffin intercepts the ball to put a quick end to ASU's drive, followed by McCoy coming up with a clutch third-down completion.

McCoy then felt the need to go to his feet on another third-down as he scampered out of bounds to move the chains.

The Texas punt team was forced to come out, but give the Longhorns credit for eating up a chunk of the third quarter.

Not that it matters...ASU gives it right back to the 'Horns as Henry Melton recovers a muffed punt.

McCoy then takes off for a wild jaunt, weaving in and out of the ASU defense right to the 4-yard-line before fumbling into the endzone.

As has been the case all night long, things work out for Texas as Jermichael Finley recovers McCoys fumble in the end zone to put Texas up handily, 35-13.

ASU showing life

SAN DIEGO - ASU forces Texas to punt out of their own endzone and are doing all the neccessary things to make this one interesting in the fourth quarter.

28-13, Texas with 9:27 left in the third

A Happy Horns Holiday

SAN DIEGO - Tabbed as BCS-worthy squad prior to the start of the 2007 season, few prognosticators believed Texas would wind up in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl.
But as everyone would soon come to find out, not much would go according to plan in the college football world this past season and that the entire landscape would be turned on its head.
So in the most bizarre of collegiate pigskin seasons, it was fitting that Texas would end its 2007 campaign on a bizarre note.
Sure, Texas bested Arizona State 52-34 in the 30th edition of the Holiday Bowl Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium, but it was the matter in which they went about it that will have people in Austin half-heatedly chuckling at what could have gone wrong.
A fumble late in the third quarter at the 4-yard-line by a scrambling Colt McCoy bounced into the end zone and was somehow found at the bottom of an unforgiving pile by the Longhorns' Jermichael Finley. It resulted in a Texas touchdown that put them safely ahead, 35-13.
That strange fumble sequence, however, was as routine as they come when compared to what transpired on one play in the second quarter.
Behind by 21 points, Sun Devils quarterback Rudy Carpenter was drilled by Texas linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy and the ball fell to the ground, about three yards away from the Longhorns sideline.
A then-unidentifiable Longhorns assistant wearing a burnt orange jumpsuit was also on the field at the time and actually reached for the ball to pick it up. The problem was, the ball was still in play.
Texas defensive end Aaron Lewis recovered the fumble, but the call was reversed minutes later and the ball was awarded to ASU. This gave the Sun Devils undeniable momentum and Carpenter capped it with a TD pass that electrified the Sun Devil faithful.
Then came word of who the potential goat of the 2007 Holiday Bowl was...yup, you guessed it...Mack Brown's stepson.
Luckily for Texas, Chris Jessie (a member of his stepfather's football staff), will not put his name in the history books next to the Steve Bartman's of the world.
The 52 points Texas laid on ASU made sure of that.

2:58 left in 1st half, Texas looking mighty fine

ASU had better hope they can stifle Texas in what will likely be the 'Horns final drive of the half. If not, this one is in the books.

Kick-off nears

The chant "ASU" echoes throughout Qualcomm Stadium after a pre-game fly-over and a sterling national anthem. At this point it looks like a crowd that's 60-40 in favor of ASU.

Head coach of BYU LaVell Edwards is a part of the pre-game celebrations.

Texas will receive the kickoff.

Home for the Holiday Bowl?

By Matt Burke

SAN DIEGO - They say everything is big in Texas, however the Longhorns' fan contingency at the 30th Annual Holiday Bowl appears to be quite less than large as fans begin tricking inside Qualcomm Stadium tonight.

Strolling through the parking lot hours before gametime, there wasn't exactly a sea of burnt orange and as CSTV.com's Adam Caparell wrote today in the Red Zone, about only half of Texas' 11,000 alloted tickets were sold.

Sure Arizona State is only a Rudy Carpenter spiral away from San Diego, but c'mon...this is Texas. We'll see if things pick up on the attendance side for the Hook 'Em's right before kickoff.

November 22, 2007

USC regains class of the Pac status

TEMPE, Ariz. - Visiting USC flew by the Sun Devils, 44-24, for the eighth straight meeting between the two teams to retake first place in the Pac-10. All USC needs to do now is beat UCLA on Dec. 1 and for Oregon to lose one of its final two games in order for the Trojans to clinch a trip to the Rose Bowl.

Continue reading "USC regains class of the Pac status" »

Drive safely and enjoy the leftovers

TEMPE, Ariz. - An exodus as begun at Sun Devil Stadium. Fans began filing out moments after John David Booty connected with tight end Fred Davis on a 34-yard pass to put USC up 44-17.

Continue reading "Drive safely and enjoy the leftovers" »

USC in control

TEMPE, Ariz. - After 30 minutes of play, USC leads, 27-17. While the game has been relatively close, the Trojans are clearly controlling the game. The USC offense has attacked at will, especially through the air. Quarterback John David Booty has thrown for 227 yards, two touchdowns and snuck a 1-yard score up the middle.
The Trojan defense has been equally dominating, shutting down ASU's rushing attack. Sun Devil running backs Dimitri Nance and Keegan Herring combined have carried the ball 10 times for three yards.
Don't count ASU out yet though. The Sun Devils have trailed six times at halftime this season, coming back to five of the games.

Continue reading "USC in control" »

Back to square one

TEMPE, Ariz. - ASU ties the game 17-17 on a 25-yard field goal from kicker Thomas Weber. ASU has managed to even the game despite rushing for minus-1 yard.

Injuries a plenty
A trio of ASU players left the game with injures. Safety Josh Barrett left early in the game but has returned with a brace on his right knee. Left tackle Brandon Rodd and wide receiver Chris McGaha have both returned to action after walking off the field alongside ASU trainers.

USC starting running back Chauncey Washington is still sitting on the Trojans' training table after getting looked at by USC's personnel.

Anything you can do, I can do better

TEMPE, Ariz. - ASU senior wide receiver Rudy Burgess takes a kickoff 98 yards for touchdown after USC scores on its opening drive. The Trojans' drive started with Ronald Johnson running the kickoff to mid-field.

USC fans have shown up strong in Sun Devil Stadium. Trojan faithful, include a mini version of the USC marching band, dominate six sections. Former USC quaterback and current Arizona Cardinal Matt Leinart has been spotted on the Trojans' sideline.

Marcus Allen and Charles Barkley are also watching from the field.

Calm before the storm

TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State and Southern California play every year. Yet, tonight's game is anything but another game. Billed the unofficial Pac-10 title game, the winner will be comfortably seated and and strapped in the conference's bid to the Rose Bowl.

Continue reading "Calm before the storm" »

November 03, 2007

Ducks top ASU, could play for National Championship

EUGENE, Ore. -- Last week Matthew Harper talked about how Oregon's defense may bend, but won't break. You might be able to say that about the entire Oregon team right now.

Continue reading "Ducks top ASU, could play for National Championship" »

Field Rush

EUGENE, Ore. -- I think I counted 13 seconds after the PA guy said "please stay off the field until players have left" before hundreds of fans flooded the field. Now there's a bunch of them in the middle jumping up and down, waving their arms and doing some sort of dance. Last week The Duck did some crowd surfing, but I don't see that yet.

Final is Oregon 35, ASU 23. Mike Bellotti is hugging everyone. And the crowd is chanting "B-C-S!" For the first time in quite awhile, that just might be a reality for the Ducks.

Off to postgame, will report more soon.

Defense wins games ... and its about to win this one

EUGENE, Ore. -- My God, things could not go much worse for ASU. Carpenter threw a 35-yarder to Thompson, who made a great catch despite the fact that about six Oregon players were within a few inches of him. He spun, got tackled, and then fumbled. LC Willie Glasper picked it up for the Ducks and now it's Oregon's ball on their own 22. 2:51 to play. This one's pretty much over.

Carpenter has throw more than 350 yards this game and the Sun Devils are losing. However, he has been sacked seven times, if my calculations are correct. SEVEN TIMES.

ASU trims Ducks' lead

EUGENE, Ore. -- Carpenter hooks up with Jones for a 54-yard pass, putting the Sun Devils at the Oregon 11. Then Carpenter tosses an 11-yarder to TE Brent Miller and the PAT is good, so the Ducks' lead slims to 12. Oregon leads 35-23 with 5:17 to go. The 59,379 (third straight time the Ducks have set an Autzen and state of Oregon attendance record) people here just took a deep breath, telling themselves it's going to be OK.

First down Ducks at their own 16 after Stewart's 15-yard kickoff return.

Bad day for Carpenter

EUGENE, Ore. -- You can't start to think a game is over with Arizona State, because then Rudy Carpenter goes and throws a 32-yard pass to MaGaha to put the Sun Devils on the Oregon 15.

And right as I typed that, Carpenter threw an interception that Walter Thurmond III picked off and returned for 13 yards.

In not-so-good news for the Ducks, receiver Garren Strong has been diagnosed with a right shoulder injury and will be out the rest of the game. Because that's exactly what the Ducks need, another hurt receiver. They're going to have to start suiting up some random kids with the way the receiving corps is depleting.

In other games that matter to these teams, Florida State leads BC 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. Ooooooh.

Leaf in at backup

EUGENE, Ore. -- Dennis Dixon is going to take a little break on the sideline after getting tackled pretty hard on his 11-yard carry a second ago. Ducks were first and 10 on their own 30, Dixon faked and ran up the middle right, was holding his left knee as he got up. He ran off the field with minimal limping, though he's taking some time at the trainer's table right now.

From the replay it looks like Dixon tweaked his knee when he planted it, not on the tackle. He's up on the sideline walking around now. For the night -- in case he doesn't return -- Dixon was 13-22 passing with 189 yards and four TDs and carried for 11 times and 57 yards. Brady Leaf is in at backup. Leaf played quite a bit toward the end of last year but has only seen scrub minutes this season. I'm betting Dixon will stay out the rest of the game since the Ducks are leading 35-16 with 11:38 to go. This might be a good opportunity for Leaf to get some quality minutes against a decent defense just in case something should happen to Dixon in the future.

Nice use of a timeout

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Ducks called a 30-second timeout with :01 remaining in the third, and a few of us in the press box muttered "what a waste" under our breath.

What do we know?

Dixon faked another hand off, then stepped right a few times to throw a 19-yarder to Drew Davis, who made a diving catch. Oregon leads 35-16 as we head into the fourth. Stewart also had 20 yards on the ground in Oregon's scoring drive. That's a fourth of the yards in that scoring drive.

Carpenter sacked. Again.

EUGENE, Ore. -- Had to disappear for a bit to watch the end of the LSU/Alabama game. While I was gone, Carpenter got sacked again, this time by Boyd, who was probably trying to make up for that personal foul call. It was Carpenter's fifth time being sacked.

Oregon's got the ball, first and ten, on ASU's 30. Dixon just tossed a 9-yard completion, then Crenshaw picked up five yards. First and 10 at ASU's 35. 2:24 to go in the third, Ducks still lead 28-16.

LSU is going to win, which is a shame for whoever wins this game. Nice for the Tigers though, and the SEC.

Defense, defense, defense

EUGENE, Ore. -- I cannot say it enough, and neither can Mike Bellotti. His guys just stopped ASU at fourth and one on Oregon's 36. Ducks take over now. It's been awhile since we've seen something big from Dixon, be it a pass (though he's trying with Jaison Williams) or a nice fake and run. 4:53 to play in the third.

LSU and 'Bama are tied at 34 with 2:49 to go. In some ways, that game is becoming just as important as the one we have going on here.

But Stewart can run

EUGENE, Ore. -- Stewart slipped past a tackle, sprinted up the sideline, then tip-toed into the end zone. Ducks 28, ASU 16. Stewart with a 33-yard run, already doubling his rushing total.

Also, because it matters since LSU is No. 3 in BCS standings, Alabama currently leads the Tigers 34-27 with 4:49 to go in the fourth.

Williams ... can't catch that one

EUGENE, Ore. -- Remember in the movie "Little Giants" when the receiver can't catch the ball to save his life, so he puts sticky stuff on his hands and then makes a big catch that wins them the game? If anyone has any of that stuff on the Oregon sideline, give it to Jaison Williams. Dixon threw a beauty to him -- probably about 40 yards -- and Williams bobbled it before dropping it. Ducks punt, ASU takes over at their own 4.

And nothing worked out for the Sun Devils on that series, so now Weber's going to punt. He's practically under the FG post. Ducks first and 10 at ASU 42.

Weber scores this time

EUGENE, Ore. -- Sure, Weber can make a 50-yard FG when he's cold after halftime, but not a 34-yarder in the first half? Oooookay.

What am I saying? I couldn't kick a 13-yard FG.

Ducks lead 21-16, but it's been awhile since they scored. I'm thinking Jonathan Stewart knows this and is anxious to get the ball. 12:02 to play, ASU to kick off ... The Sun Devils have been great in the second half the last few weeks, and there's no reason to think this is going to be any different.

Whoops

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon's defense is going to have to play tough right here, after Dixon fumbled and ASU's Luis Vasquez finally hopped on it at the Oregon 49. The Ducks still lead 21-13 with 3:16 to go, but this is what the Sun Devils like to do. They enjoy the dramatic comeback. If ASU can score before the half's up, it's a whole new ballgame, momentum to ASU.

Sack time

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon's Nick Reed must have spent this week working on sacking Carpenter, because the junior has already done it twice, the second time for a loss of 8. Long day for Carpenter, I'm guessing, and we're not even finished with the second quarter. ASU punts, and Aaron Pflugrad, a homegrown Duck, returns it for nine yards.

ASU likes FGs

EUGENE, Ore. -- Carpenter just threw his first incompletion of the afternoon at 8:28 to go in the second, which sounds impressive, but doesn't mean too much because Oregon has had the ball the majority of this game.

However, the Sun Devils were able to score with a 34-yard FG by Thomas Weber. They had to go for the FG because Walter Thurmond III (don't forget that last part) broke up Carpenter's pass. Between Thurmond, Harper and R Patrick Chung (who has about 17 tackles already) the Ducks defense is looking better and better as the game goes on. And they looked pretty good at the beginning.

Good to have a good line

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Sun Devils are within striking distance, first and 10 on the Oregon 18 and a big reason why is Herring, who delivered a nasty block to an Oregon defender, allowing Carpenter to scramble away for 12 yards. Carpenter then made a 12-yard pass, and here we are in a timeout while ASU decides how to best stick it to the Ducks.

ASU in double digits

EUGENE, Ore. -- Hurt thumb or not, Carpenter looked pretty good throwing a 26-yard TD pass to MIke Jones. Carpenter was off-balance, falling down and doesn't have a healthy hand. Impressive touchdown. PAT is good, so Ducks lead 21-10.

I was just talking with the guy next to me about how scary it is to think about what Oregon could be playing like if a few of its key starters weren't out with season-ending injuries. However, you have to wonder the same thing with ASU and Carpenter because that wouldn't have been an easy pass when you're completely healthy.

All Ducks

EUGENE, Ore. -- I feel like I should be writing something about ASU because it's been mostly about UO, but if you look at the scoreboard (Ducks 21, Sun Devils 3) you understand.

However, the Sun Devils have a first down and they're about to start this series on Oregon's 26 and Carpenter did have a nice 31-yard pass to TE Tyrice Thompson, so maybe they'll try that again. There was just a media timeout, though I don't think any of us in the press box requested it.

Wow

EUGENE, Ore. -- I think I might be typing that word a lot today. Or maybe I need to find another because we're only 24 seconds into the second quarter and Oregon is playing fantastic football.

Dixon to Williams (he's 3 for 5 on catches today) for a 27-yard TD pass and Oregon leads 21-3. The Duck, who does push-ups after every UO score to match the scoreboard, is going to be tired after this game. The Ducks look great -- and their back-ups (specifically WR-wise) have come up big the past few weeks. Garrett Strong had a 14-yard reception on that scoring drive, perfect timing for a kid who wasn't going to get any playing time originally.

Maybe it's Carpenter's thumb

EUGENE, Ore. -- Hmm, well, I'm going to guess that quite a few four-letter words are coming out of Dennis Erickson's mouth right now. On third and four on ASU's 40, Carpenter bobbled the snap (maybe it hit his thumb?), then got sacked for a loss of 9 by Oregon's Nick Reed. ASU punts, Ducks' ball on the 25 after a 10-yard penalty. Dixon is already 5-7 for 101 yards and two touchdowns and we have 53 seconds to go in the first quarter. Who's got a Heisman ballot near them?

Ducks score again

EUGENE, Ore. -- I'm going to need to type faster.

The Ducks just scored again, this time on a pass to Stewart, who ran about 10 yards into the end zone. Ducks lead, 14-3. Two plays before that, Dixon faked a back-handed pass to Stewart, then ran for five yards. I don't think I'd ever want defend Dixon -- it is so hard to tell if he has the ball or has passed it, and we all have a pretty good view up here.

PA guy just announced to the crowd that Navy beat Notre Dame 44-42 in three overtimes, which caused an eruption of cheers, adding more proof that everyone hates Notre Dame.

ASU on board

EUGENE, Ore. -- Nick Aliotti, the Ducks' defensive coordinator, is in his 17th year at UO. And he's finally starting to earn his money.

The Ducks' D has looked surprisingly good all season, maybe none more so right there, when the Ducks held ASU from scoring a TD hree times, forcing them to settle for a 19-yard FG. Ducks lead 7-3.

Is this shaping up to be the high-scoring game so many of us anticipated for both the Oregon/Cal and Oregon/USC matchups, neither of which happened?

That was fast

EUGENE, Ore. -- Jaison Williams must be reading the blog at his super-cool locker in the Ducks' locker room. Remember how I said he needed to CATCH the football this week? Well he did just that, to the tune of a 43-yard pass from Dixon.

Oh, and then he caught a 26-yard pass one two plays later to give the Ducks their first score a whopping 1:13 minutes into the game. Wow.

TV time

EUGENE, Ore. -- You know, usually I don't think many people read this blog because in this day and age, if you like a team and they're decent, they're probably on TV. Well, this week, approximately 17 people were originally scheduled to see this game and that was only if they had Oregon Sports Network.

Then ESPN and College Gameday stepped in and now everyone is going to be able to see the game. But you can only watch on ESPN if you DON'T live in Oregon or Arizona. If you live in one of those states, you have to watch the game on a lesser channel with not as high quality and not as cool announcers. This means I will need to step my game up, blog-wise. I'll try to channel UO's Harper's spirit, since he stepped up big last week.

Ducks are coming on the field as we speak, wearing a hideous combo of yellow pants and black jerseys. And they're being led by The Duck, who road a motorcycle onto the field. Some turf maker somewhere isn't going to think that's a good idea.

Also everyone is chanting "over-rated!" to ASU as they take the field.

Pregame in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. -- Supposedly, traffic is backed up on the interstate about 25 miles outside of Eugene. That might explain why the parking lot and stadium still isn't very full for what is easily the biggest game of the week in college football.

Continue reading "Pregame in Eugene" »

October 28, 2007

Cal-ASU: Post-game lagniappe

TEMPE, Az. --

First off, Why this?...

ASUfansOnField.jpg

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.

Sparky.jpg


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.

CalBear.jpg

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
2:17

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. --

ASUStartTime.jpg

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.

BondsSign.jpg

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.

BigFoggs.jpg

Cal-ASU: Additional Pre-game notes

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

- First some pre-game MUSICAL notes


GoreGoreTempe.jpg
(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" »

 

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