Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on September 27, 1987 · Page 50
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 50

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Sunday, September 27, 1987
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REPUBLUKEFuHUt BBT AMAH COT aunUAi, otrlEMPtn d.1, Two 1 pyjAftiyONA He Cooper assails Arizona By VERNE BOATNER The Arizona Republic "In the aftermath of Arizona State's hard-fought loss to Nebraska, ASU coach John Cooper was uncommonly blunt in assessing blame. "If you had told me that we would score 28 points and lose,"said Cooper, "I'd have said you were crazy. "We did some good things offensively. I thought three touchdowns would be enough. "When we put our defense in position to win the game, I expect them to win it I guess that's the reason I'm disappointed right now. They missed a lot of tackles." "Many of the defensive players agreed with Cooper. "Our offense played a really strong game, better than anticipated," said inside line backer Stacy Harvey. "Our defense should have come through and done a lot better. But we didn't. "It didn't seem to be enough. I could have played a lot, lot better. And I'm gonna' play a lot better, with time. QB Taylor saves day for Huskers By BOB COHN Th Arizona Republic The question for Nebraska split end Rod Smith was what quarterback- Steve Taylor means to the Cornhuskers. It wasn't a terribly difficult question. "Everything," Smith said. "Today, that first drive was the Steve Taylor show. He was being rushed all day, and Steve continually got out of situations that would be losses with most quarterbacks." That 80-yard, 11-play drive began in the first quarter and ended in the second. Taylor dived over from the 1 for a 7-0 Nebraska lead that set the stage for a wild Saturday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium. It ended with the Cornhuskers beating ASU, 35-28. Taylor, a junior who zinged UCLA with five touchdown passes two weeks ago, zigged and zagged through the Sun Devils for 122 yards rushing and two touchdowns. " His passing was way off 6 of 16 for 69 yards and an interception and he committed two costly fumbles. But so what? Nebraska is 3-0, second to Oklahoma in the polls, mainly because of Taylor's innate ability to turn bad news into good. His explanation was simple. ., "It's called fear," he said, laughing. "You can't practice that. I just do whatever it takes to win. If we've got to throw, I throw. If we've got to run, I run. I believe in winning. That's why I'm here." Taylor, along with I-back Keith Jones, helped revive a Nebraska ground game that appeared to have gone dormant against UCLA. Jones, especially, had been unimpressive. His numbers against the Bruins were six carries, 18 yards and two fumbles. It was enough for Nebraska coach Tom Osborne to accept applications for the starting position. Jones, who led the Big Eight in rushing last year (830 yards), won his job back in practice and proceeded to run for 145 yards on 17 carries against the Sun Devils. Included was a 62-yard run late in the fourth quarter that led to Taylor's 3-yard run for the winning score. "I came into the game very confident in myself," said Jones, reputed to be Nebraska's fastest player ever. "I felt, and the coaches felt, it was time I let myself be known." ' Nebraska's winning drive happened after ASU tied the game, 28-28, with 4:55 remaining. That, in turn, had been set up by one of Taylor's few mistakes, a fumble on the Nebraska 13. On the play, a third and 15 on the Huskers' 7, Taylor dropped back to pass and seemed to have forever. Eventually, he had to scramble and lost the ball when he was spun down by Rick Zumwalt "Usually, I don't do that," Taylor said, "But I did it, and it was done and over with. "I was down at the time. I hoped the defense would hold, but if not, I knew we had to get the touchdown back." Taylor's resiliency helps explain his success. JTm a player, I'm human, like everyone else," he said. "I might throw an interception, but it's part of the ball game. It's what you do after that." ;Nebraska rushed for 364 yards. In their first two games, the Sun Devils had yielded a 'total of 298. Of course, the opponents Illinois and Pacific had something to do with that Then again, ASU last season yielded an average of 112 rushing yards and only Washington State ran for more than 200 yards. Smith, however, said it was more of what Nebraska does than it was ASU lapses. "We do a lot of repetition in practice," he $aid. "Probably more than anyone. Therefore, our execution is more precise." , For "their part, the Sun Devils' point 'total and 377 yards are not what the proud Nebraska defense is used to surrendering. Smith said playing on the road had more of an effect than the 90-degree temperature. "Emotions were high," he said. "We knew it would be, because of the crowd, and 'the crowd stood behind them till the end.... The heat really wasn't an effect, but H was a factor. We got tired, especially onj defense." i f We just ran out of Ij time. We knew we could drive on them. J Randall McDantel "My overall game just wasn't up to what it could be. And losing to Nebraska didn't make it any better. "But I feel real good about our team. I feel like from here on out we should beat everyone we play, if we play like we did today." Free safety Bernard Jones, who was in on six tackles and intercepted a pass, looked on the verge of tears. "Nebraska wasn't physical at all," he said. "We manhandled them. But we let them get key yardage on broken plays. That's what killed us. ASU's Jeff Joseph hides the pain on his ASU Continued from D1 "One heck of a football team. "They will win a lot of games this year," Osborne said. "We're just happy to get out of here alive." After Taylor's go-ahead touchdown, ASU got the ball on its 22 with 3:32 remaining. A 13-yard run by Harris, a 9-yard pass from Daniel Ford to Chris Garrett and a 9-yard run by Channing Williams put the ball at the Nebraska 47. Linebacker Steve Forch intercepted a Ford pass intended for Harris at the Husker 31 with 2:38 remaining. ASU got the ball back at its own 23 via a punt with 1:08 remaining, but did not threaten. Cooper said Ford threw to the wrong receiver on the pass that was intercepted by Forch. "We had Aaron Cox open over the middle," Cooper said. "The play to Harris was something he (Ford) just made up." . Ford said, "his (Harris') route had come to a conclusion, but I waved him down the field. I thought he had his man beat, but obviously I was wrong." Ford completed 15 of 34 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted three times. "Ford played just average," Cooper said. "He's got to do a better job of picking up his secondary receivers." The temperature was 91 degrees with 31 percent relative humidity at kickoff. A temperature of 121 degrees was recorded on the field in the first half. Coaches and players said the heat did not appear to favor one team over the. other, though it did seem to tire the defenses more than the offenses. ASU defensive tackle Shawn Patterson, HURT Continued from D1 Privately, Ford broke down in tears after the game. Frozen in his memory will be a 'first-quarter pass. It looked like a 30-yard touchdown about to happen. Aaron Cox stood in the end zone, 5 yards away from the nearest defender. Ford threw directly to that defender, Nebraska's Mark Blazek. With 2:38 left and ASU behind by seven,-Cox was streaking free down the middle. Ford failed to spot him, instead forcing a pass to Darryl Harris on the sideline. It was intercepted. Cox again was free and unnoticed " on a streak route with 30 seconds left. It's unfair to expect Ford to match the , veteran Huskers quarterback. (Taylor is something else. He weighs 195 ' C0LISG5 FOOTBALL State's defense for missed tackles "I could have played better. The entire defense could have played better. That's why I think this is just a steppingstone for a great season for us." Said cornerback Anthony Parker, "We didn't do the job when it counted. "The game was there for us to win. "The defense feels like it was our fault We let big plays hurt us. "Our defense was just poor. We know we had an opportunity to get the ball back on their last drive. "Don't give up on us. This game will definitely make us get better." Added defensive tackle Shawn Patterson, "You got to give their quarterback credit. He did what it took to get the job done. "I don't know why we played so poorly on defense. Our offensive play was out-standing. "In the first half, I wasn't reading them right They had a lot of misdirection. We had a better second half mentally, but we still made too many mistakes." Highly-touted freshman defensive back '' ' face as he is wheeled off the field after suffering a leg injury in the first quarter. who had four solo tackles and four assists, said the defense should take the blame for the loss. "The offense did its job," Patterson said. "They scored enough points to win. We didn't get it done on defense." Patterson said Nebraska "showed a lot of poise. If they were tired, they didn't show it." Nebraska drove 80 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Taylor got it from 1 yard out after contributing runs of 32, 12 and 12 yards. Alan Zendejas kicked a 36-yard field goal for ASU midway through the second quarter, but the Huskers came right back with another touchdown drive. This time fullback Micah Heibel ran from 1 yard out to cap a 12-play, 85-yard drive. An interception and 18-yard return by free safety Bernard Jones gave ASU the ball at the Nebraska 49 with 36 seconds left in the half. A pass interference call and an 18-yard pass from Ford to Cox put ASU at the 14 with 13 seconds remaining. After an incompletion and a 3-yard pass to Harris, Zendejas kicked a 28-yard field goal. The Devils took the second-half kickoff and drove 80 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. It came on a 2-yard pass from Ford to flanker Chris Garrett. Ford hooked up with fullback Channing Williams on a 2-point conversion pass, tying the game at 14-all. On Nebraska's next possession the Huskers had a fourth and 11 at the ASU 27 when holder Clete Blakeman, a backup quarterback, passed 26 yards to Millikan for a first down at the one. Jones scored on the next play to give Nebraska a 21-14 lead. . pounds but scrambles like Fran Tarkenton. Ford was not the only one making mistakes. .' Larry Marmie, the ASU defensive coor- -dinator, said he had his team in the wrong alignment on the 62-yard Keith Jones run that set up the winning touchdown. He also blamed himself for Nebraska's fake field goal that led to its third touchdown. The officials made a few boo-boos, too. Scratch that. Officials don't make boo-boos. They make marginal calls. One was an illegal receiver penalty that nullified a 66-yard Nebraska scoring pass. That was picky. So was a key roughing penalty called against ASU and one that was not called against Nebraska. t I Nathan LaDuke didn't even expect to play. "But when Jim Joseph got hurt (ligament damage to a knee), we didn't have any choice," Cooper said. "I had hoped to redshirt Nathan." LaDuke recovered a Steve Taylor fumble at the Nebraska 13 to set up Darryl Harris' 1-yard run that tied the game, 28-28, in the fourth quarter. "Before the game I had mixed feelings about red-shirting," said LaDuke, an Alhambra graduate. "Now that the decision has been made, I'm anxious to play as much as I can." Quarterback Daniel Ford, whose play Cooper described as "very, very average," spoke up for the defense. "I think the offense let the defense down," Ford said. "They gave us the ball enough times to win. I guess we all let each other down." But guard Randall McDaniel disagreed. "We just ran out of time,"he said. "We knew we could drive on them. Coach told us to just keep putting the pressure on 'em. "As the game went on, I knew we could .. Michael MeislerThe Arizona Republic ' NEBRASKA 35 ARIZONA STATE 28 Nebraska Arizona State J 14-35 IS 7 - M SECOND QUARTER CORNHUSKERS Taylor 1-vard run. Huskeri went 60 yards in 11 plavs after Blaiek't Interception in end zone stooped an ASU drive. Big plays on drive were runs of 32 and 12 yards by Taylor. Drennan kick. Time left: 13:10. Huskers 7. Sun Devils 0. SUN DEVILS Zendeias 34-yard field goal. Devils drove from Ihelr 20 to the Nebraska 18. where Zendeias connected. Drive took 13 plays. Time left: MS. Huskers 7, Sun Devils 3. CORNHUSKERS Heibel 1-verd run. Huskers drove 85 yards In 12 plavs. Taylor's 24-yard pass to Millikan at the 1 set up the touchdown. Clark had a 17- yard run on the drive. Drennan kick. Time left: 2:19. Huskers 14, Sun Devils 3. . SUN DEVILS Zendeias 28-yard field goal. Devils started at Nebraska 49 with U seconds lefl in the half on Interception and 18-yard return by Jones. Ford's 18- yard pass lo Cox set up field goal, which came as lime expired. Time left: 0 00. Huskers 14, Sun Devils 6. THIRD QUARTER SUN DEVILS Garrell 2-yard pass from Ford. Devils took the second-half kickoff and drove 80 yards In eight plays. Big play was 32-vard pass from Ford lo Cox. Williams, two-polnl conversion pass from Ford. Time left: 10:15. Sun Devils 14, Huskers 14. CORNHUSKERS Jones 1-yard run. Huskers went 70 yards In 8 plays. Key Play was Blakeman's 24-yard pass to Millikan on fake field goal at ASU 27. Jones also contributed a 19-yard run on drive. Drennan kick. Time lefl: 7:49. Huskers 21, Sun Devils 14. SUN DEVILS Harris 4-yard run. OavllS got It ball on Ihe Huskers' 15 when Sapolu caused and recovered a fumble by Taylor. Four plavs later Harris scored. Zendeias kick. Time lefl: 2:45. Sun Devils 21, Huskers 21. FOURTH QUARTER CORNHUSKERS Smith 12-yard pass from Taylor. Nebraska drove 70 yards on 8 plays. Taylor scrambled 24 yards and passed 19 yards fo Millikan on the drive. Drennan kick. Time led: 11:28. Huskers 28, Sun Devils 21. SUN DEVILS Harris 1-verd run. Zumwall caused mid-air fumble and LaDuke recovered at Nebraska 13. LaDuke was credited with interception. Five plavs later Harris scored. Zendeias kick. Time lefl: 4 55. Sun Devils 28, Huskers 28. J CORNHUSKERS Taylor 3-yard run. Jones had runs of 12 and 42 yards as Huskers went 82 yards In only four plays, Taylor's touchdown came on second-and-goal situation from the 3. Drennan kick. Time led: 3:37. Huskers 35, Sun Devils 28. ATTENDANCE 71,244. GAME IN FIGURES First downs Rushes-yards Passing Return yards Comp-all-lnl Pinls Fumbles-losl Penalties-vards Nebraska Arizona State 23 44-177 200 28 15-34-3 5-39 2-0 5-40 22 54-344 9S 11 7-17-1 4-42 3-2 9-44 29:22 Time of possession 30:31 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING Nebraska: Jones 17-145, Taylor 19-122, Heibel 7-27. Clark 3-27, Knox 3-19, Carpenter 2-9, Brinson 2-8, Hawkins 1-7. Arizona Slate: Harris 24-1 10, Williams 9-42, Wendorf 2- IS, Ford 4-7, Cahoon 1-3. - Sure, Ford misfired early on two easy third-down passes. Don't forget, however, ;that Sun Devil Tony Johnson dropped Ford's 14-yard strike in the end zone moments later. Enough of this nit-picking. What we had here in Tempe, in this green griddle between the buttes, was a good football game. Frame it and hang on the wall. Or put it on steel videotape and save it posterity. It had big hits and big plays, spiced with interesting strategy and highlighted by courage from both teams. ASU came back to tie three times. Nebraska, which was supposed to pucker in the clutch or wilt in the heat, instead met the challenge. The experience will help the Huskers. beat 'em. I thought we would win until the end. We made a few mental mistakes and came up short "But they didn't walk over us. We know now that we can go 10-1." Nebraska wasn't exactly chopped liver, Cooper pointed out w ' ! . "Hey," he said, "I'm not disappointed in our team. I'm just disappointed that we lost "I don't see anybody beating them. I think they'll go undefeated the rest of the way. . "They showed a lot of poise, like all great teams. They didn't panic. They knew what they had to do. . "They've got a lot of gadget plays. We've got to do some of that "But the key play was Jones' long run (62 yards late in game that set up Taylor's winning touchdown on a 3-yard run). Everything up to that point was irrelevant" Jones, who was shut down by UCLA, averaged 8.5 yards a carry in gaining 145. ASU's Ford own worst evaluator By GARY HOROWITZ , Th Arizona Republic Some day Arizona State quarterback Daniel Ford will put Saturday's loss to Nebraska in perspective. After the Sun Devils' 35-28 loss to second-ranked Nebraska, Ford was ready to take full responsibility. "I didn't get the job done," said Ford, wiping the tears from his eyes. "They're a great team, but we lost. What can I say?" Ford, a 6-foot-2, 209-pound junior who started the third game of his career for ASU, played better than his self-evaluation might suggest. Although his numbers 15 of 34 for 200 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions were not outstanding, they were not embarrassing either. "We got beat, and my job is to win," Ford said. "I wish I had played a little better. I did some good things and I did some bad things. And who knows, maybe if I hadn't done some bad things, we wouldn't have lost." What Ford did well was hit receivers on medium-range passes. Aaron Cox had five receptions for , 109 yards, and Tony Johnson caught three for 58 yards. Ford also showed poise in the pocket and was able to scramble when necessary. He struggled a bit on short passes, often throwing the ball too hard. He also had difficulty spotting secondary receivers. " "To be honest with you, I thought he was average," said ASU coach John Cooper! "I think Danny can play better." Ford would not dispute that. "I felt comfortable the whole way," Ford said. "I missed some short passes with the guys crossing underneath, and the rest of it all felt pretty good. I'll go back this week and work on the things I didn't do right so I don't make the same mistakes again." Ford's most crucial mistake came late in the fourth quarter with Nebraska leading,' 35-28. Facing a second and 10 at the Nebraska 47, Ford tried to hit Darryl Harris on the left sideline, and the pass was intercepted by Nebraska's Steve Forch at the 31. Ford sank to his knees, hands on top of helmet. ; ,M "He got to the end of his route and was covered, and I tried to get him (Harris) to turn up a little late, and I was getting dragged down as I threw," Ford said. "If I had thrown it a little bit better, he'd have probably scored." ; Cox, whose 32-yard reception in the third quarter was the longest of the game, said Ford played well. "I think Dan played a good ball game today," Cox said. "He's capable of playing a better game, but I think he had a good performance." Added offensive coordinator Jim Col-letto: "Danny has to learn that he's a good college quarterback. He's not gonna win games for us. He's got to help us not lose them. He's got a good arm, and he's got to do the right things more often. "But he played hard and he's gonna have . to keep improving. As long as he doesn't hurt us, I think we're gonna be all right"" Ford, who was often pressured by Nebraska's defensive line, was sacked three timesfor 13 yards. "Daniel really took a pounding," Cooper said. Ford was able to elude the rush most of the game and gave credit to his offensive line. "They did a great job," Ford said. "None of it was their fault. They did a good job on the 'running game and we controlled the line of scrimmage pretty much on offense. ... j "They're (the Huskers) a great team and they did some great things and they got to me sometimes. But overall, on a whole, the offensive line probably played a lot more consistently than I did." For said the pressure of playing against a powerhouse like Nebraska did not bother '"'"No, I think that makes it ea8ier,w-he said. "When you're playing a bad "team, you're always afraid that your team's not going to be up. This is the kind of game that you look forward to. "Of course you look forward to winning, and I was expecting to win and we didn't I have to go home and d,eal with that" 1 .1 n H

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