ASU falls flat in ugly loss to Stanford - East Valley Tribune: News

ASU falls flat in ugly loss to Stanford

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Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2009 11:03 pm | Updated: 1:11 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Andrew Luck threw for 236 yards, Toby Gerhart ran for 125 yards and a touchdown and Stanford greatly boosted its bowl hopes with a 33-14 victory over the Sun Devils on Saturday night.

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PALO ALTO, Calif. — Stanford's schedule is about to get really tough: home with Oregon, at Southern California, home against archrival California and home versus Notre Dame.

The Cardinal couldn't afford to lose to Arizona State, and they knew it.

Andrew Luck threw for 236 yards, Toby Gerhart ran for 125 yards and a touchdown and Stanford greatly boosted its bowl hopes with a 33-14 victory over the Sun Devils on Saturday night.

"We have our work cut out for us," Luck said. "We have some great teams ahead of us."

Losing this one would have been a big blow for Stanford, which has a bye next week before finishing its schedule with the Pac-10's top teams.

The Cardinal (5-3, 4-2 Pac-10) used a balanced attack to match their 2008 win total and end a three-game losing streak in the series in which they had been outscored 120-23 by the Sun Devils (4-3, 2-2), including 41-3 here in 2007.

Freshman Jamal-Rashad Patterson scored on a 22-yard reverse for his first career touchdown, Stepfan Taylor ran 33 yards for a TD and Owen Marecic had a 2-yard scoring run on just his seventh career rushing attempt. Marecic's TD came on the heels of his 28-yard reception that set up his score late in the second quarter to put Stanford up 24-0 at halftime.

Third-year coach Jim Harbaugh and his team are trying to earn the school's first bowl berth since 2001.

"This is where we want to be," Gerhart said. "We want to get in that upper tier of the Pac-10, and we're playing those teams."

Arizona State center Thomas Altieri suffered a right leg injury late and was assisted as he limped off the field with 1:57 left. He later was using crutches.

The Sun Devils struggled to generate any offensive momentum and were held to four first downs and 99 total yards in the first half before finally getting on the board early in the third. They also were hurt by 10 penalties.

"It was a rear end kicking," ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. "They're very physical. That's what they've done all year. We came in and that's exactly what they did to us."

Arizona State was at 1 yard of offense with just more than a minute left in the opening quarter. Danny Sullivan missed on his first four passes before connecting with Chris McGaha for a 16-yard gain with 48 seconds left in the first.

Sullivan found McGaha again early in the third on an 18-yard TD pass for Arizona State's first points, then threw a 40-yard scoring pass to T.J. Simpson in the fourth but took a hard hit on the play. Sullivan wound up 12 for 23 for 143 yards and two TDs as Arizona State had a two-game winning streak snapped. Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler played down the stretch as Sullivan nursed a sore knee that wasn't considered serious.

Ryan Whalen had seven catches, one of eight Stanford players with a reception.

Bo McNally recorded nine tackles as Stanford bounced back from two tough setbacks and improved to 4-0 at home this season and 8-1 at Stanford Stadium the last two seasons. The Cardinal lost 43-38 last week at Arizona.

"We had two rough weeks, and we wanted to get back to it this week," Gerhart said. "It was a good mix of run and pass. I think it was almost perfectly balanced."

Stanford caught a break late in the first quarter when Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict was flagged for a personal foul for leaping over a Stanford player. That gave Stanford first down on the 15 after Nate Whitaker missed a 47-yard field goal wide right. Whitaker later kicked a 27-yarder, then added another field goal early in the fourth quarter.

Stanford easily moved the ball against the seventh-ranked defense in the nation and No. 2 run defense coming into the game.

"We knew it wouldn't be perfect," Harbaugh said. "There were times it was mushed up in there, but I thought our guys met that challenge head on. We just went out and really were taking care of business. We had the best week of practice we've had since maybe I've been here."

Gerhart carried 27 times on the way to his 15th career 100-yard game and moved past Anthony Bookman and into third place on the school's all-time list for rushing yards with 2,645.

"You have to give it to their offense," ASU's McGaha said. "They ran it down our throats and ate up a lot of clock."

Arizona State failed to intercept a pass for the first time in 15 games, ending the longest streak in the nation.

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