Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Wildcats Drop Overtime Heartbreaker to ASU, 30-29
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: December 02, 2010
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Dec. 2, 2010

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona State blocked extra point attempts at the end of regulation and the second overtime, enhancing its bowl chances with an improbable 30-29 win over rival Arizona on Thursday night.

Arizona State (6-6, 4-5 Pac-10) rallied from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter and broke through for a blocked extra point with 27 seconds left in regulation to keep the score tied at 20-all.

Cameron Marshall scored on a 2-yard run in the second overtime and David Douglas of Arizona (7-5, 4-5) answered with a 9-yard touchdown run, but James Brooks through to block Alex Zendejas' extra point to send Arizona to its fourth straight defeat.

Thomas Weber kicked five field goals for Arizona State, which now must wait to see if the NCAA clears its bowl waiver after one of the wildest finishes in this heated rivalry.

Quick Take Video: Foles and Perkins

Arizona had BCS hopes after opening the season 7-1. A blowout loss to Stanford ended that goal and two more losses left the Wildcats reeling and on course for a smaller bowl.

The Sun Devils found themselves in a tough spot after a series of just-miss losses and a win over an FCS team that didn't count toward a bowl, needing to beat their rivals and get a waiver from the NCAA to get into a bowl.

Both teams' fate came down to a rivalry game, which can have a funny affect on teams, leading to fluke plays and plenty of emotions.

Last year's game had both.

Arizona State's Kyle Williams made a spectacular tying TD catch, muffed a punt about a minute later and Arizona won the defensive battle 20-17 on Max Zendejas' 32-yard field goal. The teams celebrated their dislike afterward with a mini melee at midfield.

The 84th version of the Duel in the Desert was more a Dud in the Desert early on.

The Pac-10's top two passing teams, with quarterbacks who threw for a combined 828 yards last week, seemed like they were playing underwater, trading go-nowhere runs, dropped interceptions and badly overthrown passes throughout an ugly first half.

Weber provided the only points, hitting from 52 and 36 yards to put the Sun Devils up 6-0.

Arizona, after 88 yards and eight punts in the first half, finally came to life in the second.

Back in rhythm after a 49-yard first half, Nick Foles hit Terrence Miller on a pump-faking 38-yard pass down the middle, then hooked up with Juron Criner on the next play, pinpointing a pass in the corner of the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown.

Criner made it 14-6 late in the third quarter, giving Arizona State cornerback LeQuan Lewis a slight bump on an up-for-grabs ball to score a 52-yard touchdown.

The Sun Devils decided to fight back after that.

Weber hit a 38-yard field goal to open the fourth quarter, then Brock Osweiler led Arizona State back down the field for a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mike Willie, adding a 2-point conversion that put the Sun Devils up 17-14.

Arizona State's defense held on a fourth down near Arizona's 30 on the next drive and Weber nailed a 40-yard field goal to make it 20-14 with 3 minutes left.

Foles answered by hitting Douglas on 5-yard touchdown pass, but Arizona State blocked the PAT, adding another wild chapter to a rivalry already filled with them.

Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops

"First off, I want to congratulate Arizona State. They played an excellent game. I thought they competed well. We had six sacks tonight, but they probably got away from us another six times. They really kept us honest."

"I'm very proud of our players. We had a better second half than the first. There really wasn't much rhythm on offense, and we couldn't do much. The second half went a lot better for us. Juron (Criner) had a couple really great catches tonight, and Nick (Foles) threw the ball a lot more effectively. Our defense tonight was good, we had some great plays. Overall, I'm pleased with our effort. It's disappointing to lose, but that's just a part of football. There is the good side and a bad side. We just have to move forward. Life goes on. It doesn't take away from what our guys did tonight. I'm sad for our seniors. Tonight was not a memorable night for them, but they still had a great effort out there tonight."

"Alex (Zendejas) did the best he could, and that's good enough for me. Life has a way of evening out. I wanted to go for two. I should have gone with my gut and stuck with it. Defense played well enough. We just didn't make the call. Really doesn't matter now."

On going on fourth down with six minutes left in the fourth quarter:

"I thought we could get a yard, or that we could hold them to a field goal and still win the game. I felt it was the right thing to do."

"Now we just have to regroup. Develop some of our younger players and get bigger, stronger. The loss is certainly disappointing. It would have been nice to finish better. Overall I'm pleased with out players and their ability to compete across the board. We just ran out of gas and couldn't hold on in the end. This was a big game no matter what our records were."

"This is going to be a big week next week recruiting wise. We lost recruiting time last week, so we just need to get back on the road and start recruiting."

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