5:00 PM ET, October 22, 2005
Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
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 revival.
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 Saturday.
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 page."
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 and executed."