ASU offense fails to establish rhythm

10-26-09 Football 2
Freshman wide receiver Jamal Miles stretches for yardage during ASU’s 33-14 loss to Stanford on Saturday.(Jonathan York | The Stanford Daily)
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Monday, October 26, 2009
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PALO ALTO, Calif. — The waiting list is starting to get quite long, and word is spreading fast.

If your defense is struggling, line up to get a taste of ASU’s offense.
It worked for Georgia, then Oregon State and now Stanford in its 33-14 win over the Sun Devils on Saturday.

ASU couldn’t get anything going in the first half against a Stanford defense that was shredded by UA just a week ago.

“We just didn’t come to play,” senior wide receiver Chris McGaha said, “In the first half, our offense didn’t move the ball, and we kept our defense on the field.”

The Sun Devils did show life to start the second half and engineered a touchdown drive that looked like it could get them back into the game.

But the defense wasn’t able to slow down Stanford’s offense because it was getting worn down from the combination of the physical Cardinal attack and its domination of the time of possession.

“I thought we were going to get it going after that first touchdown, we just couldn’t get our defense off the field and have a long drive,” McGaha said. “They just ran it right down our throat and ate up a lot of clock.”

Nothing that Stanford did on defense was unexpected by ASU, but the Sun Devils just couldn’t execute.

“They did what they do on film,” McGaha said. “They run a lot of [different] coverages. They did what we thought they were going to do.”

The only thing that surprised ASU’s offense was the lack of blitzes they saw.

“They didn’t blitz as much as we thought they were going to,” senior quarterback Danny Sullivan said. “We didn’t make the plays when we needed to.”

Injuries pile up

Already missing senior wide receiver Kyle Williams and junior cornerback Omar Bolden, ASU suffered a few more injuries in Saturday’s loss.

Sullivan was hit hard and hurt his knee while throwing a 40-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver T.J. Simpson early in the fourth quarter and did not return.

Freshman Brock Osweiler finished the game but completed just one of his seven passes.

“I’m fine,” Sullivan said after the game. “I’ll have it checked out [Sunday].”

Senior running back Dimitri Nance also left the game early in the third quarter with a sprained shoulder and did not return.

Senior center Thomas Altieri left the game in the fourth quarter and left the field on crutches.

More Penalties for Burfict

Prized freshman linebacker Vontaze Burfict was called for two more personal foul penalties — and both were costly.

Burfict was called for leaping on a missed field goal by Stanford junior kicker Nate Whitaker in the first quarter that eventually led to a field goal that Whitaker made.

Burfict was then called for unnecessary roughness midway through the second quarter on a hit that knocked the helmet off of Stanford junior fullback Owen Marecic.

That gave the Cardinal a first-and-goal at the ASU 9-yard-line, and it scored a touchdown two plays later to increase its lead to 17-0.

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