Well, now wasn't that the most fun football game you've EVER watched?
If you answered yes to that question, you clearly need to watch some more football.
The fact of the matter is, the Sun Devils held on for another gutsy victory yesterday at the Rose Bowl. In a game that was reminiscent of this year's game in the Palouse, the Devils struggled to get going on offense, looked shaky on special teams and streaky on defense. However, ASU was still able to put it all together with a terribly banged up Rudy Carpenter and came out with their first victory at the Rose Bowl since 1996.
Some quick observations...
-From a kid who had to battle to the last day for his spot on the team, Thomas Weber, hands down, might be the Pac-10 Special Teams POTY as a frosh. His punting skills need some work, but that kid is money in the bank on field goals.
-Keegan Herring is the most frustrating runner I've ever seen. I keep having to explain to people that he's not a traditional downhill runner and that the only way he knows how to run is to juke and dance, but he even had me scratching my head with what he was doing yesterday.
-But then, Keegs rattled off that game-breaking run, which made me forgive him...for now.
-I'm very curious to why Dmitri Nance only got the ball 12 times yesterday. In the first half, it was clear that Keegan was having trouble going around the edge (the O-Line was too busy not blocking for Rudy again, apparently). When you've got Nance, the better runner between the tackles, standing on the sideline, and your best option is to run between the tackles, it would have made more sense to me to have Nance in the backfield.
-Sometime in the third quarter, UCLA's defense started gunning specifically for Rudy's throwing thumb. There were several plays where you could tell that the first Bruin to Carpenter would swipe directly to his right hand, and on the play Rudy really reinjured the thumb, the defenders arm swung intently toward his throwing hand.
-The stat that made the difference yesterday: UCLA was 3 of 15 on third down, stopping several drives right in their tracks. Five of those unconverted 3rd downs were in ASU territory, and two of them left the Bruins with just three points rather than touchdowns. That's a net loss of a key eight points.
-Bruce Davis had a terrible game. He made mental mistakes throughout the contest (see: PF call that led to Weber's 53-yard field goal) and the double team shut him down all day.