Things were looking up for the Sun Devils when often spotty kicker Alex Garoutte drilled a 48-yard field goal with 12:15 to play in the third quarter. It gave ASU a 31-27 lead over the Cal Golden Bears.
Then composure and discipline, two of those little devils that always sit on ASU's proverbial shoulders in the Dennis Erickson era, reared their ugly heads. The Devils were flagged for three personal foul penalties -- each one after a positive gain for the Bears -- on one drive. Cal drove 77 yards in seven plays and capped it off with another C.J. Anderson touchdown run, this one for three yards, and lo and behold, ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict picked up his second personal foul penalty of the drive after the touchdown.
Cal led 34-31 and ASU had to start it's next drive deep in its own territory, and a 30-yard completion on third-and-10 was nullified by a holding penalty. The Devils were forced to punt, and needed their defense to get a stop and get off the field to avoid a further deficit.
The chance was there. On third-and-4 from the Bears' 26, Cal QB Zach Maynard escaped the rush and lobbed a floater over linebacker Shelly Lyons head to Anderson. The junior tailback had no other ASU defender to beat and sprinted 74 yards to the end zone to give Cal a 41-31 with 2:53 left in the quarter.
The Devils absolutely had to answer, the game having reached critical stage for them. Where so often they had not in games they were expected to win of late, ASU came up with two big plays on their next possession.
One was a 27-yard pass from Brock Osweiler to Gerell Robinson, and the other a spectacular 24-yard touchdown run by Cameron Marshall that gave him 18 rushing TDs on the season and 29 for his career. The 18 tied a single-season school record.
Marshall broke into the open field on the run and put a move on defensive back D.J. Campbell that was equivalent to breaking ankle in basketball. The Devils trailed 41-38 to start the final quarter, and Marshall had 22 carries for 131 yards up to that point in the game.