Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter, rear, throws over Oregon State linebacker Derrick Doggett during the second quarter of Saturday’s game in Tempe, Ariz. - ASSOCIATED PRESS

OSU defense unable to hold 19-0 lead


The Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State has figured out a unique way to remain unbeaten.

The Sun Devils fall in a big hole, then climb out and bury the opposition.

Rudy Carpenter threw for 361 yards and four touchdowns and the Sun Devils defeated Oregon State 44-32 on Saturday night, rallying from a 19-point first-quarter hole.

For the second time in three weeks, ASU faced a double-digit deficit in the first quarter. And for the second time the Sun Devils (4-0, 1-0 Pac-10) stormed back for a decisive victory.

The Sun Devils spotted Colorado a 14-point lead before rallying for a 33-14 victory on Sept. 8.

"We'd been there before," Carpenter said. "In both those games, the points that we gave away were just because of turnovers and killing ourselves, really. We knew our defense was going to stop them and we just had to score some points."

Carpenter completed 25 of 36 passes and threw an interception. He hit Michael Jones for touchdowns of 43 and 64 yards and connected with Ryan Torain for 7- and 48-yard scores.

"Our game plan was to throw the ball," Carpenter said.

Jones caught four passes for a career-high 124 yards, and Torain ran for 91 yards and had a 41-yard touchdown.

Robert James and Troy Nolan each had two interceptions and Justin Tryon picked off one for the Sun Devils.

The game started disastrously for the Sun Devils, who trailed 19-0 after the first quarter. They had been outgained 153-6.

Beavers coach Mike Riley knew the big lead wasn't safe.

"It's a long game, and I thought immediately about Colorado being in here and being up 14-0 and just getting thumped," Riley said. "So I'm not naive to the fact that it's a long, long game and we have to keep playing."

Oregon State (2-2, 0-1 Pac-10) led 2-0 after four plays when ASU's Jason Perkins snapped the ball over punter Jonathan Johnson's head and into the end zone, where Johnson fell on it for a safety.

Two Oregon State touchdowns and a field goal put ASU in its biggest hole of the season. But the Sun Devils didn't panic.

"There's no question it was a great comeback," Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said. "We weren't on all cylinders, but one thing about it, we kept competing."

ASU used two broken plays to get back in the game.

The first was a 64-yard touchdown pass from Carpenter to Jones early in the second quarter. Carpenter was flushed from the pocket, scrambled and found Jones behind safety Al Afalava.

The next big play came late in the first half, when Carpenter was hit on a blitz and fumbled at his own 23. He picked up the ball and found Tyrice Thompson for a 33-yard gain. That set up a 30-yard field goal by Thomas Weber to cut ASU's deficit to 19-13 at halftime.

Carpenter "scrambled out a number of times and made big plays," Erickson said. "I thought Rudy had a heck of a game. He just fights like heck to give himself a chance to win."

The Sun Devils took a 27-26 lead on a 48-yard pass from Carpenter to Torain near the end of the third quarter. The score came one play after Nolan intercepted a pass and returned it 25 yards.

Arizona State put the game away with 17 points in the fourth quarter.

Oregon State's Sean Canfield completed 28 of 48 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted five times. He also had three interceptions in a 34-3 loss to Cincinnati Sept. 6.

Yvenson Bernard rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown for the Beavers, who haven't won in Tempe since 1969. They've lost 24 of the last 28 meetings overall.

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