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Scrimmage serves as final tuneup

Senior wide receiver Michael Jones catches a touchdown pass from Rudy Carpenter as freshman cornerback Josh Jordan defends during the preseason scrimmage at Sun Devil Stadium Thursday. (Morgan Bellinger/The State Press)

After spending the majority of fall camp at the Kajikawa practice field a few hundred yards away, the ASU football team got a change of scenery.

The spotlight turned to Sun Devil Stadium Thursday night for the annual end-of-camp scrimmage.

But the opposition was the same, making the evaluation process for coach Dennis Erickson a difficult one.

“We won’t know where we’re at until we play a game,” Erickson said. “You can only go against yourself so long.

“The enthusiasm, you lose that a little bit going against each other so we’ll find out where we’re at next Saturday.”

ASU opens its season back at Sun Devil Stadium against NAU.

The offensive unit for the scrimmaging Sun Devils was far more effective than it was a week earlier during an intrasquad scrimmage at Camp Tontozona. Erickson said it was the best performance he had seen during the fall.

The offense had three touchdown-scoring drives, including one that was capped by a 32-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter to senior wide receiver Michael Jones.

With last season’s leading receiver Chris McGaha on the sideline resting an ailing toe, Carpenter looked to Jones often during the first two series of plays.

Carpenter finished the night completing eight of 15 passes for 96 yards and the touchdown to Jones.

Junior quarterback Danny Sullivan, Carpenter’s primary backup, was also effective, completing 8 of 13 passes for 80 yards.

The offensive line, considered one of the biggest question marks going into the season, saved its best performance for the final scrimmage of camp.

“They kept pushing the defense off the ball and got us some holes to get some great yardage,” said senior running back Keegan Herring, who finished with 35 yards on seven carries to lead the Sun Devil ground attack.

Other members of the backfield played well in their quest for increased playing time.

Highly-touted freshman running back Ryan Bass had four carries for 24 yards and showed good hands out of the backfield, but he did fumble after the first of his three receptions.

Freshman James Morrison, a walk-on from St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, and junior Jarrell Woods each added touchdown runs.

On special teams, sophomore Kyle Williams returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown.

Sophomore kicker Thomas Weber, a preseason All-American, made two of three field goal attempts, connecting from 49 and 50 yards out.

The defensive unit also came up with big plays as freshman Deveron Carr and senior Anthony Reyes both grabbed interceptions.

ASU’s top cornerback, sophomore Omar Bolden, said he is pleased with the progress the defense has made since the beginning of camp.

“On a scale of one to ten, I can say we went from a five coming in, to an eight or nine now,” Bolden said. “We’re progressing every day and getting better every day.

“There are little things we have to clean up but we should be good.”

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