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UA Digs Hole, Drops Cup Game to ASU, 28-14
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/26/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON?-Arizona State’s first quarter sent Arizona reeling, and the Wildcats could not recover, dropping the annual Territorial Cup game to the Sun Devils, 28-14, Saturday.

 

Rudy Carpenter passed for three touchdowns and Ryan Torain took care of the dirty work with 24 carries for 139 yards. The Sun Devil defense dominated Arizona, holding the Cats to 168 net yards. Torain was named Most Valuable Player in the annual match of in-state rivals.

 

ASU improved to 7-5 overall and tie the Wildcats and Oregon for fourth place in the Pac-10 at 4-5. Arizona dropped to 6-6 overall.

 

The Sun Devils drove 80 yards on the game’s opening possession to take a 7-0 lead. Rudy Carpenter completed all three of his passes for 66 yards, including a touchdown strike to Chris McGaha of 26 yards. ASU took seven plays and a brief 3:28 to get it done.

 

With two and a half minutes left in the half, UA stopped ASU on third down at the Cats’ 38 yard-line. The Devils lined up Carpenter in punt formation and UA called timeout.  Carpenter came back on the field with UA receiver Syndric Steptoe in kick return formation, and moved to under center, then threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Jamaal Lewis for a two-TD lead.

 

Disaster struck UA on its next possession. ASU held the Cats at the UA 23 yard-line, and punter Nick Folk dropped the snap, then kicked the tumbling ball twice, soccer style, to avoid a rush. The play invoked loss of down and Carpenter followed with a seven-yard touchdown throw to Zach Miller for another quick touchdown.

 

Arizona finally got something going at the turn of the quarters. Devin Ross returned a kickoff 31 yards to the UA 49 yard-line, helped by the fact ASU had to kick from its 20 because of unsportsmanlike conduct on the previous touchdown. Chris Henry picked up 27 yards rushing on three carries and Willie Tuitama connected with Syndric Steptoe for a 6-yard touchdown pass.

 

Tuitama was knocked from the game mid way through the second quarter on a hard hit for which ASU drew a roughing the passer penalty, and Adam Austin came in to run the UA offense. He finished with 11 completions in 30 attempts, with two interceptions.

 

The Cats were forced to punt, and ASU drove inside UA’s red zone, but end Louis Holmes forced a Carpenter fumble on a scramble and Ronnie Palmer recovered to avert further first-half damage.

 

The Devils held and came back with good field position. Carpenter went deep, but the pass was tipped by Marcus Hollingsworth and returned by UA safety Michael Klyce 42 yards to set up a two-play UA scoring drive. Austin completed a pass to Mike Thomas, who scooted 22 yards for the score to make it 21-14 at the half.

 

Austin’s second interception gave ASU the ball at Arizona’s 22 yard-line half way through the third quarter. Two plays later Ryan Torain ran to the1 yard-line, and Dimitri Nance punched it in with a 1-yard run to push the score to 28-14.

 

The rest of the way was ASU holding field position and denying Arizona much of an offensive push. The Cats finished with 33 net rushing yards and 135 yards passing. Tuitama left the game with six completions in 10 attempts for 36 yards. UA’s leading rusher was Chris Henry with 38 yards on 16 carries.

 

UA will have to wait a week to see if its 6-6 record and fourth-place tie is enough to earn it a berth in one of the Pac-10's six bowls or possibly another bowl as an at-large team.

 

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