TEMPE -- A Pac-12 football game that lost some luster even before kickoff is shaping up to be an offensive shootout between Arizona State and Cal between the bluffs in Tempe.
It's just that the home team, not too surprisingly, finds itself behind on the scoreboard this Friday night.
What's clear is that Arizona State can move the ball on Cal's defense. And that the ASU defense is as porous as sifter after it allowed two touchdowns and a field goal in three Golden Bears' possessions to trail 17-7 after one quarter of play.
The Sun Devils scored on the first play of the second quarter to cut the Bears' lead to three, 17-14.
The crowd is fairly sparse on Senior Night and thanks to the Utah Bumblin' Utes, ASU's hopes of winning the Pac-12 South have been dashed. But the Devils have something to play for, two things actually: a bowl game somewhere in the West with a decent payout and Coach Dennis Erickson's job.
The Valero Alamo Bowl folks were at Sun Devil Stadium Friday to pass out their info, but it seems pretty unlikely the Devils will go to San Antonio. A spot in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco or the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl is more likely.
After Cal opened the game with a field goal on its first drive, ASU answered with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ended in TD run for Cameron Marshall. Marshall surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for his career later in the quarter.
Cal took a 10-7 lead, and on ASU's next possession, Kyle Middlebrooks was stripped of the ball on a run up the middle and Cal's Mychal Kendricks recovered the fumble and returned it 33 yards to set up Cal for another score. On the play, ASU QB Brock Osweiler got his clock cleaned by a downfield block but got up and into the face of his opponent.
Cal needed just one penalty and one play to take the 17-7 lead, a touchdown run for QB Zach Maynard with 5:18 left.