Oct. 23, 1999
WSU 21, ASU 33
(October 23, 1999, Tempe, Ariz.): Arizona State held Washington State scoreless in the second half to rally for a 33-21 win in front of Sun Devil Stadium's 57,537 onlookers. ASU improved to 4-3 overall, 3-1 in the Pac-10 Conference, while handing WSU its first loss in three games and drop the Cougars to 2-5 overall, 1-3 in the conference. Early on it looked like the game would be all-WSU. On the first drive of the game WSU drove 80 yards in just eight plays for its first touchdown. Freshman running back Deon Burnett got the score with an 11-yard run on second-and-10 at 11:31 in the first quarter. WSU would go three-and-out on its next possession, but began its third possession at the Cougar 35-yard-line. Burnett started it off with a two-yard run and provided a crucial burst on the sixth play of the drive, running 22-yards to bring the ball to the ASU 22-yard-line. Two 11-yard Steve Birnbaum-to-Leaford Hackett passes put WSU in the end zone for the second time and put the Cougars up 14-0 at 4:51 in the first quarter. ASU would not be shutout. On the ensuing possession the Sun Devils drove 64 yards on 10 plays to set-up Stephen Baker's 37-yard field goal. On ASU's first possession of the second quarter, Lamont Thompson intercepted Ryan Kealy's pass to give WSU field position at the ASU 30-yard-line. Four snaps later, Rian Lindell's field goal was blocked and returned to the ASU 40-yard-line. From there the ASU offense moved 60 yards on seven plays -- J.R. Redmond providing the 2-yard touchdown run -- to come within 4 points, 14-10, with 10:35 left until halftime. The Cougars quickly answered on their next possession. Birnbaum completed four passes and rushed the ball twice, the second time for a one-yard touchdown, to widen the lead to 21-10 with just over six minutes remaining in the second quarter. Before WSU could escape into the locker room with an 11-point lead, Baker put his second field goal through the uprights -- this time from 48 yards out -- to bring the score to 21-13 at halftime. Just as WSU started the first half off with a touchdown-scoring drive, ASU made a claim for the game with a half-opening drive of its own. Kealy completed four passes to lead the Sun Devils to the WSU 12-yard-line. Redmond did the rest with a pair of six-yard runs that put ASU in the end zone. WSU allowed the touchdown but turned back Kealy's two-point conversion attempt to hang-on to its lead, 21-19. The Cougars' ensuing offensive effort was short-lived. Three plays gained only one yard and the Sun Devils regained possession at their own 38-yard-line. In an eight-play drive, ASU took the lead for the first and last time. Redmond rushed the ball five times for 44 yards and -- after Todd Heap caught Kealy's one-yard touchdown pass -- caught a Kealy two-point-conversion pass for a 27-21 lead with 7:10 to play in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter Redmond would get his third touchdown of the afternoon to bring the score to its final margin. WSU's Burnett finished with 136 yards rushing, but it was not enough to outdo the 165 yards of Redmond.
NOTES & QUOTES:
BLEEDING RED-MOND: J.R. Redmond has battled injuries this season, but his three touchdowns and 235 all-purpose yards were too strong for the Cougars. "He played probably the best I've seen him play this year," linebacker Steve Gleason said. "He looked like he was pretty healthy, and he came out with a lot of determination. I take my hat off to him, he played a great game."
A TALE OF TWO HALVES: WSU won the first half, but not the second half and not the game either. The Cougars finished with 291 yards of total offense, after racking up 259 total yards in the first half. "We collapsed on offense and left a lot of guys out on defense that got beat up and bloodied," head coach Mike Price said. Said WSU quarterback Steve Birnbaum, "They made some adjustments in the second half and did some things differently. We just didn't adjust back very well. Coach Price talks to us about handling adversity when it's thrown at us. We didn't do that very good...It's a 60 minute game, not a thirty minute game."
"It really was a game of two halves," ASU head coach Bruce Snyder said. "I am really proud of the way the defense played in the second half." The Cougars converted on five-of-15 third downs in the game, all the conversions coming in the first half. "Things happened in the first half," ASU linebacker Adam Archuleta said. "We allowed them to get their running game up and we had to put a stop to that. We took care of our assignments (in the second half), did what we had to do, got back in the game and won."
ESPECIALLY ASU: The Cougars returned punts and kickoffs for 105 total yards Saturday, slim pickings compared to ASU's 179 return yards. "Our return yards were pitiful," Coach Price said. "ASU returned the ball excellent, seeming to get the ball at the 50 (yard-line) every time. I thought we were gong to do better."