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
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
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'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."