10:00 PM ET, September 9, 2006
Sun Devil Stadium, TEMPE, AZ
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Despite throwing a career-high five touchdown passes in No. 25 Arizona State's win, Rudy Carpenter sounded like the losing quarterback afterward.
"Tonight, I missed some reads and I tried to run a little bit sometimes," said Carpenter, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 333 yards in a 52-21 victory over Nevada on Saturday night. "It's just the way it goes sometimes."
Carpenter, a sophomore, made his second start since coach Dirk Koetter demoted his preseason No. 1 quarterback, Sam Keller, who transferred to Nebraska. Carpenter's lone blemish was an interception that was returned for a touchdown. He improved to 6-1 as a starting quarterback.
Carpenter's big night took the pressure off the Sun Devils' ground game, which has come under criticism and didn't begin clicking until long after the outcome was decided.
Arizona State (2-0) came into the game hoping to establish the run against Nevada (0-2), which allowed 212 rushing yards in its opening loss to Fresno State. But the Sun Devils struggled to run the ball against an undersized Wolf Pack front line.
In the first half, ASU's four tailbacks -- Keegan Herring, Shaun DeWitty, Dimitri Nance and Ryan Torain -- combined for 30 yards on 12 carries. ASU finished with 139 yards on 31 carries, a 4.5-yards-per-carry average that matched last week's performance against Division I-AA Northern Arizona.
Torain ran for a team-high 70 yards on eight carries, including a 15-yard score late in the fourth quarter.
Coach Dirk Koetter said his game plan called for ASU to run the ball more, but he shifted gears after the game started and the Wolf Pack bunched to stop the run.
"They changed their defense up and challenged us to throw it more," Koetter said.
The Sun Devils may need a consistent running attack when they visit Pac-10 contender California on Sept. 23. But a ground game was incidental on a night that Carpenter picked apart the Wolf Pack.
His first touchdown pass, a 2-yarder to tight end Zach Miller, capped ASU's game-opening 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive. It was Miller's 100th career reception and his 11th career touchdown reception, tying Joe Petty for the lead among ASU tight ends.
Nevada tied it at 7-7 when linebacker Ezra Butler intercepted a Carpenter pass and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown with 13:54 to go in the second quarter.
"It's a bad taste when you throw a pick," said Carpenter, who has thrown two in the first two games.
Carpenter rebounded to lead a 10-play, 80-yard drive, hitting Michael Jones for a 20-yard touchdown to give ASU a 14-7 lead.
Arizona State took a 24-7 lead on Carpenter's third touchdown pass, a 52-yarder to Nate Kimbrough. The score ended a lightning 80-yard, 28-second drive, with Carpenter completing three passes in as many attempts.
Carpenter connected with DeWitty for a 22-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to give ASU a 38-14 lead and hit Terry Richardson for a 25-yard score with 6:16 to go in the quarter.
ASU was out of sync early in the game. The Sun Devils were penalized five times for 29 yards in the first half and had a 44-yard field goal attempt by Jesse Ainsworth blocked.
But ASU's defense snuffed Nevada's hopes of a major upset.
"I thought Arizona State had a nice game plan defensively," Nevada coach Chris Ault said. "But we did not respond offensively the way that we should have. Offensively speaking, we were really ineffective."
The Sun Devil defense, which finished 114th out of 117 Division I-A teams last year, forced four turnovers and scored a touchdown for the second consecutive week.
Reserve safety Ryan McFoy returned an interception 30 yards for a score in the second quarter.
"I believe it was just the right place at the right time," McFoy said.
McFoy's interception was one of three by ASU. The Sun Devils also recovered a fumble.
"Everybody's clicking together," McFoy said. "We're working as a team. Later on in the season, we'll be much better, but we're doing good right now."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... When Arizona State ripped off 24 unanswered points to take a 31-7 lead late in the second quarter.
Gameball goes to... Rudy Carpenter. The Sun Devils' QB was 17 of 26 for 332 yards and 5 TDs in the dominating win.
Stat of the game... 1: This was ASU's first win over Nevada, after losing to the Wolf Pack in 1946 and 1947.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-13||4-9|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-1|
|TD||9:21||ZACH MILLER 2 YD PASS FROM RUDY CARPENTER (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||13:54||EZRA BUTLER 23 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (BRETT JAEKLE KICK)||7||7|
|TD||9:58||MICHAEL JONES 20 YD PASS FROM RUDY CARPENTER (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||6:04||JESSE AINSWORTH 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 3 yards.
|TD||2:44||NATE KIMBROUGH 52 YD PASS FROM RUDY CARPENTER (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||2:13||RYAN MCFOY 30 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)||7||31|
|TD||0:14||MARKO MITCHELL 9 YD PASS FROM JEFF ROWE (BRETT JAEKLE KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||12:26||SHAUN DEWITTY 22 YD PASS FROM RUDY CARPENTER (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 22 yards.
|TD||6:16||TERRY RICHARDSON 25 YD PASS FROM RUDY CARPENTER (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 79 yards.
|TD||5:17||ADAM BISHOP 7 YD PASS FROM TRAVIS MOORE (BRETT JAEKLE KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 12 yards.
|TD||2:55||RYAN TORAIN 15 YD RUN (JESSE AINSWORTH KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 73 yards.