Nov. 12, 2006
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Rudy Carpenter threw for a season-best 339 yards and three touchdown passes and Arizona State rolled to a surprisingly one-sided 47-14 victory over Washington State on Saturday night.
Carpenter completed 15 of 24 with one interception before leaving the game with nine minutes to play. His scoring passes went 50 yards to Matt Jones, 34 yards to Chris McGaha and 62 yards to Brandon Smith.
In by far their best half of the season, the Sun Devils scored on all six possessions - three touchdowns and three field goals - to go up 30-7 at half. They scored the first time they had the second half, too, on Smith's fingertip catch of Carpenter's long throw to take a 37-7 lead with 9:39 to go in the third quarter.
Jesse Ainsworth kicked a career-high four field goals, including his two longest of the season at 46 and 47 yards, for the Sun Devils (6-4, 3-4 Pac-10), who became bowl-eligible with the victory.
The Cougars (6-5, 4-4 Pac-10) - who played without their top two receivers Michael Bumpus and Jason Hill because of ankle injuries - were ranked 25th nationally just two weeks ago but lost consecutive games to Arizona and Arizona State.
Ryan Torain rushed for 84 yards in 19 carries for the Sun Devils, who amassed a 562-192 advantage in yards.
WSU's Alex Brink, Pac-10 total offense leader entering the game, completed 14-of-30 for 161 yards and two scores but was intercepted twice.
The Arizona State offense, sputtering and struggling most of the season, overwhelmed the Cougars for 298 first-half yards. Carpenter completed 11-of-17 for 229 yards and two scores in the first two quarters.
The Sun Devils took the opening kickoff and went 66 yards in five plays. Carpenter threw 34 yards to Brent Miller on the first play of the game, and had a 21-yarder to brother Zach Miller on the drive. Torain scored on a three-yard run.
The Cougars followed with a three-and-out but Arizona State's Kyle Williams muffed the punt and Eric Frampton recovered for Washington State at the Sun Devils' 36. Three plays later, Brink threw 10 yards to Charles Dillon for the score and it was 7-7.
Ainsworth's 34-yard field goal put Arizona State up 10-7, then Carpenter connected with Jones on a 50-yard touchdown play to make it 17-7 with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Ainsworth's 46-yarder put ASU ahead 20-7, then Carpenter found McGaha wide open on a 34-yard touchdown and the Sun Devils led 27-7 with 5:53 left in the half.
The Cougars finally appeared to have stopped the Sun Devils, but Carpenter went back into punt formation on fourth-and-one from the ASU 43 and threw 12 yards to Brent Miller to keep the drive alive. Ainsworth's 47-yarder with 24 seconds left capped the first-half outburst.