The Arizona State Game seemed huge at the time. ASU has been a pretty decent team the past few years. Great offense, albeit a terrible defense. Though, to be fair, IIRC, at that point in the season, they were about 3rd in the nation. But it was so early, it was really tough to tell how accurate that stat really was. We had not played ASU since 2004 when we shut them out. Honestly, we had not given up a point to the state of Arizona since 2003, I believe.
So, it was mildly disappointing that not only did we give up 1 point, but actually 21 full ones. Though, it was far LESS disappointing than all those people we gave University of Arizona. But thats a whole nother story.
This game was the 3rd in Cal’s exciting 3 week home stand after the Tennessee game. The theme from all three was that Cal needed a more than solid victory. They needed a huge blow out. The first two games had delivered, but we were unsure about this one.
When ASU actually scored first, it caused many people to look like this:
Luckily, there was no need to be concerned. Although the opponent did *again* score first, Cal responded to ASU’s first quarter Rudy Carpenter TD pass with 35 unanswered points. By the end of the first half, the score was 42-14. There were a lot of big plays such as this one:
That led to a lot of this.
As per usual, the 2nd half crackled with the excitement of 14 total points and endless backups. Fans struggled to stay focused:
There was even a Wave sighting (more on that later).
The play that really broke this game open was DeSean’s runback for a TD. Or DeSean Johnson as the announcer incorrectly called him. As some have noted, Reggie Bush’s college career was very DeSean-esque. Some have even noted that NFL rookie Devin Hester is very DeSean-esque. I fully support all these assessments. Everybody here at the California Golden Blogs supports these assessments.
That runback made it 21-7 and gave Cal some breathing room. Jackson also caught a TD, video of which is available here. Of course, Cal would score 2 more times before ASU scored.
One of the scores was perhaps the second most exciting play in the game. Noted God-Artisan Hughes, whose first name is nigh unspellable, intercepted Carpenter and ran it back for a TD. Of course, to add injury to insult, he ran over Carpenter as the QB attempted to tackle him. Yeah!
After the Hughes interception, which took place right before the first half ended, the most exciting thing to happen was probably the end of the card stunts. I always love the end of the card stunts:
Those things are like from Basic Instinct. Stunningly beautiful yet deadly violent! Well, perhaps the more exciting thing was the Wave. See, it was High School Band Day:
What this meant was that they took out the YellowZone dealies blocking those 2 sections and put all the high school bands in there. So, when the wave inevitably started up in the vaguely boring 2nd half, the high schoolers kept it going. Strong. People are split on the wave, but apparently uncaring high schoolers are not.
This was a great game and our first big test. Would we be able to beat an actual Pac-10 team? Would we be able to beat a team of some reknown (or so we thought at the time)? Yes!
By the end of the game, the secret was out:
"Psssst. Check out the scoreboard. Cal is pretty good!"
This is the scoreboard she is talking about. Always a good day when we see one of these:
Interestingly enough, if you looked solely at the offensive stats, this game would not look like a blowout. Both had about 400 yards of total offense. ASU had a lot more running yards, which is not indicative of being down by a lot. They had more first downs and 13 more rushing first rounds. The difference was really our D and special teams. DeSean’s runback and 2 D TDs (although both occurred after the game was out of hand). One of their rushers nearly rushed for 200 yards. This must have been the revealing of the Bend, Don’t Break D that made its presence strongly known during the UCLA game.
Luckily, it was a blowout and would propell us towards what would later be viewed as the much more important OSU game. GO BEARS!
PS Marshawn only averaged 7 yards/rush. Off day for him.