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Carpenter finishes career with defeat

Senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter sets up for a pass during ASU's 31-10 loss against the UA Saturday in the Arizona Stadium in Tucson. (Matt Pavelek/The State Press)

Four years ago, he debuted with promise.

He was believed to be the leader and was praised for his ability to create chances to win.

With a team to guide and a reputation to improve, ASU’s senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter was set to make it happen.

And in a lot of cases, he did.

“I had a great career here,” Carpenter said. “[I] went 3-1 against our rivals. I’m the school’s second all-time wins leader, and probably top five in almost every stat category in the Pac-10.”

But after four years of unpredictable outcomes and roller coaster seasons, it’s all over.

Saturday night, under Carpenter’s direction, the Sun Devils took on UA in their last game of the season.

The game ended in a 31-10 Wildcat victory, largely because the Sun Devil offense was yet again absent; ASU managed just 162 yards.

“It’s very disappointing,” Carpenter said. “It’s kind of been the same story for us all year long on offense. We just can’t make plays, and it’s been the story of our year.

“UA played a great game. Their coaching staff did a great job, and their players made a lot of plays.”

Though UA scored first on a 17-yard pass, completed from senior quarterback Willie Tuitama to sophomore tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Sun Devils responded in the second quarter.

The Sun Devils took the lead when Carpenter connected with fellow senior Andrew Pettes for a two-yard touchdown.

But midway through the third quarter, everything changed.

The momentum of the game was shifted when Carpenter’s pass was intercepted by UA senior Marquis Hundley and returned to the ASU 34-yard line.

The Sun Devils were never able to recover.

“Obviously the interception I threw was a huge turning point in the game,” Carpenter said. “So once we got down we had to start throwing a little bit.

“We [made] a couple of adjustments coming into the game … they were working for a while, but [UA] made adjustments too.”

Carpenter ended the game completing 13 of 31 passes for 124 yards, a touchdown and the interception.

Though the season may be over, Carpenter still needs time to recover. Following Saturday’s game, the quarterback said he would undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday.

Carpenter said he suffered the injury, which was unknown prior to Saturday’s game, during a loss to Oregon State on Nov. 1.

And with a season that began with such high expectations, the disappointment the team felt was evident. ASU knew coming into the game this was not one that could be taken lightly.

“We’ve got to continue to get better,” coach Dennis Erickson said. “We knew we were going to have our hands full down here; we knew we couldn’t make a lot of mistakes. We played extremely well in the first half, but we just couldn’t get it going in the second.”

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