Stanford Escapes ASU After Late Touchdown, 17-13

Despite a strong effort from the Sun Devils, Stanford managed to escape Tempe with a victory thanks to Thomas Weber and some iffy calls by the referees.

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Stanford 17, ASU 13: Cardinal Escape Tempe With The Victory

Tempe, AZ (Sports Network) – Owen Marecic’s touchdown with just over five minutes to play helped seventh-ranked Stanford take a 17-13 win over Arizona State in Pac-10 play.

Marecic scored both touchdowns while Andrew Luck went 33-for-41 with 292 yards and an interception for the Cardinal (9-1, 6-1 Pac-10), who have won their past five games after dropping a 52-31 decision at Oregon on October 2. Doug Baldwin had 10 catches for 122 yards.

“They are just a darn good football team,” said Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. “We talked about it, it’s easily an 8-2, 9-1 type of team right now, and our guys prepared for that. They knew it was going to be a 60-minute, football fight. I think this is the kind of game that brings your guys together. You rely on each other, you trust in each other, and every play is critical. They feel good about each other now after that game, and the reason they do is that they know they themselves and their teammates played like champions.”

Steven Threet was 16-for-26 with 158 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Sun Devils (4-6, 2-5), who have lost three of their last four games. Cameron Marshall had 12 carries for 92 yards in the loss while Threet also ran in a score.

“No question about it, it’s as good of a defensive effort as we have had this year,” said Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson. “We created turnovers and had a lot of opportunities obviously. Offensively we’re not very productive as far as getting points on the board. We had some opportunities, we were down there in the first half and ended up turning it over. Thats the story of the game. You turn it over, you get some penalties at the end of the game and you end up losing.”

Trailing by three points with 10:36 to play, Stanford started the winning drive at its own 15 and a 13-yard catch from Konrad Reuland on 3rd-and-1 got the ball into Arizona State territory. The Cardinal were helped on a personal foul penalty to Arizona State on a Baldwin catch and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to the Sun Devils made it 1st-and-goal.

Two plays later, Marecic plunged into the end zone from a yard out for a 17-13 lead with 5:14 to play.

Arizona State was forced to punt on its next possession and Stanford killed off the rest of the clock to seal the win.

Stanford took the lead on its first drive of the game as a nine-play, 50- yard march was capped on a one-yard run by Marecic for a 7-0 lead with 9:45 left in the first. The drive featured a 14-yard catch by Ryan Whalen on 3rd- and-6.

Arizona State answered on its next drive when Threet took the ball in himself from four yards out with 7:45 to play in the first. The score was setup on the previously play by a 30-yard catch from Gerell Robinson.

The score remained that way until the third quarter when Nate Whitaker booted a 44-yard field goal to give the Cardinal a 10-7 lead with just under seven minutes to play in the third.

Arizona State, though, responded to take the lead on its next touch as Threet found Kerry Taylor on an eight-yard score to make it a 13-10 contest with 4:43 to play as Thomas Weber missed the extra point.

Stanford plays at California next Saturday…Arizona State has off next week and will then host UCLA on November 26…The Sun Devils still lead the series with Stanford, 16-11…Stanford outgained Arizona State, 420-268 and controlled the ball for over 42 minutes.

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Stanford vs. ASU: What The Blogs Are Saying

This game is expected to be a close one by the Vegas pollsters, despite Stanford being highly regarded in the BCS rankings. The Sun Devils are suspected to be a classic "trap game" for the Cardinal startup.

The Rule of Tree chimes in first:

At the halfway point of the season, I predicted Stanford's BCS hopes would die in Tempe. To my honest delight, the Sun Devils proceeded to make me look foolish, getting walloped in their next game, 50-17, by Cal. Watching the Cardinal thoroughly dominate Washington and Arizona the past two weeks, my confidence in this team is sky high. Stanford should win Saturday, and I think it will. I'll try not to expect it, however, and I'm certainly not looking ahead to Cal.

Then, we turn to House Of Sparky:

Here we are again, Sun Devil fans. Tomorrow we will know for certain whether or not ASU still has a chance to go bowling this holiday season after taking on Stanford, the 6th-ranked team in the BCS rankings. Arizona State's 4-5 record is quite disappointing considering the way they have earned it: close road losses to Wisconsin, Oregon State and USC, and a strong fight against Oregon.

Dennis Erickson must feel his ears tingling, because he is a trendy "hot seat" coach this season and a lot of talk has surfaced regarding his future in Tempe. 

 

Looks like Stanford is expected to win this one, but if Vegas has any knowledge of the situation, then the game will be close throughout.

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Stanford vs. ASU: Andrew Luck Takes On The Sun Devils In Tempe

GAME NOTES: The seventh-ranked Stanford Cardinal head to Tempe for the first of back-to-back Pac 10 Conference road tests this weekend, as the team challenges the Arizona State Sun Devils.

One of the top scoring teams in the nation, ranked fifth with a staggering 42.3 ppg, Stanford its shooting for its fifth straight win and the ninth in 10 tries in 2010 and also tries to keep top-ranked Oregon from completely running away with the league title. Since bowing to the Ducks back on October 2nd by a score of 52-31 in Eugene, Stanford has defeated every opponent in its way. Last weekend the team, which is now sixth in the BCS rankings, dismantled Arizona at home in a 42-17 final.

“I told the team that I thought it was our best game,” Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh noted after the lopsided win. “Offensively, defensively, special teams. I thought they played very smart, disciplined football.”

As for the Sun Devils, hosting the first of two straight at home before closing out the regular season at rival Arizona, they’ve been somewhat exposed since opening the year with consecutive wins against Portland State and Northern Arizona. Most recently the team had a chance to take down USC on the road, but the Trojans got the last laugh in a 34-33 decision in Los Angeles. The defeat was the second in the last three games for an ASU team that needs to win two of the last three on the schedule just to become bowl eligible.

Arizona State leads the all-time series between the two schools by a count of 16-10, capturing 10 of the 13 games played at home versus the Cardinal. However, after winning three straight over Stanford, the Sun Devils were tripped up last year in a 33-14 final in California.

Andrew Luck completed 23-of-32 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns for the Cardinal in the win over 13th-ranked Arizona. However, as efficient at the signal-caller may have been, the spotlight was even brighter on Stepfan Taylor who carried the ball 19 times for 82 yards and an impressive four touchdowns. Also, not to be ignored was receiver Chris Owusu who caught nine balls and traded them in for a game-high 165 yards and a score as well.

Defensively the Cardinal gave up 414 yards to one of the more productive programs in the country, but by forcing Arizona into fourth punts on its first five possessions the home team set the tone for the entire meeting and forced the Wildcats to take some risky chances that didn’t pan out. Delano Howell stood out for the group with his 11 solo tackles, while Richard Sherman added 10 stops and an interception.

“This was about trusting each other,” Howell said of his squad’s efforts. “When we trust each other, we’re able to focus on our own job and play together as a team.”

Luck, who was named the Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week on Monday, has made himself into a true Heisman candidate by not only converting 67.8 percent of his pass attempts for 22 touchdowns and just six interceptions, but by setting a new school rushing record for quarterbacks in a single season with 370 yards, leading to another three TDs on 43 attempts. Obviously Taylor is the one who handles the bulk of the ball carrying coming out of the backfield with his 810 yards and now 11 TDs, but it is still nice to know that Luck has the ability to transform himself into a running threat when the opportunity presents itself.

A starter in all nine games this season, Chase Thomas tends to attract a bit of attention when he hits the field for the Stanford defense, leading the group with five sacks and tying for the team lead with seven tackles for loss. Although, the Cardinal is much more than just Thomas with players like Howell and Sherman ready to take their shots at opponents as well.

The Sun Devils posted 33 points last Saturday night, yet that still wasn’t enough to take out the USC Trojans. ASU had a number of opportunities to work their way into the win column, but it simply wasn’t meant to be, even though quarterback Steven Threet threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns. The signal-caller was sacked four times and had a pair of passes picked off, while the running game for the Sun Devils stalled with just 116 yards and yet Threet still believes his backs are being productive.

“The O-line and backs have been doing a great job, and receivers have been blocking down field so the running game has been really good,” Threet noted in a press conference on Monday. “Its something that we have been working on, and will continue to help the offense.”

Certainly there were some positives for the Arizona State defense, specifically Omar Bolden’s 66-yard interception return for a touchdown, one of two picks by the squad of Matt Barkley. It also helped that the squad took down the USC QB four times for sacks, but in the end the Sun Devils could not keep the Trojans outside of scoring position for the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter.

The scoring defense has been up and down so far in 2010, going from allowing 50 points to California one week, to shutting out Washington State the next. Obviously the truth lies somewhere in the middle for a squad that is ranked fifth in the conference and 60th in the nation with 24.4 ppg allowed. The pass defense has taken most of the abuse, permitting 229.3 ppg, yet the squad has still come up with 10 interceptions.

Still learning on the job, Threet has seen the highs and lows of being a quarterback in the Pac-10, on one hand averaging 263.6 ypg while tossing 17 TDs and the other showing 15 interceptions by a QB who is has not accepted the art of throwing the ball away. Nevertheless, Threet still gives the team its best chance to win as he guides the second-best passing attack in the conference.

As one of the premier players in both the Pac-10 and the nation, Luck can’t allow himself to take a game like this too lightly. Expect him to come out strong and put the Cardinal on course for another lopsided victory.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stanford 49, Arizona State 27

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