No. 23 Sun Devils find right gear, rout Cardinal

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- In a matter of seconds, Arizona State turned a close game into a blowout and ended its long California losing streak.

Rudy Carpenter threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Rudy Burgess late in the second quarter and Omar Bolden returned an interception for a score on the next play from scrimmage to lead the 23rd-ranked Sun Devils to their first conference win in California in eight years, 41-3 over Stanford on Saturday night.

"That was the difference in the football game," Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said. "All of a sudden you make a big play on third down for a touchdown and then pick off a pass for a touchdown. Now a game that was really close has turned around. Those two plays were huge for us."

They helped Arizona State (5-0, 2-0) snap a 14-game losing streak to Pac-10 teams in California, dating to a win over Southern California in 1999. It was especially painful since so many of the Sun Devils come from this state.

"I didn't hear about it until Thursday," said Bolden, a freshman from Ontario, Calif. "I was pretty upset because I'm a California native. I was like, 'We can't win in Cali? Come on now. We have to come out and get this win.' "

Arizona State had been struggling offensively up until that point, giving up five sacks and being held to a pair of field goals by a Stanford team that had been unable to slow down its first two conference opponents.

Then on a third-and-8, Burgess took a pass from Carpenter and sped past the Cardinal defenders to the end zone for the first touchdown of the game with 2:31 left in the half. Keegan Herring ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 14-0.

After a touchback on the ensuing kick, T.C. Ostrander tried to connect with Richard Sherman for Stanford (1-3, 0-3). But Robert James knocked the ball away and into the hands of Bolden, who raced 29 yards for Arizona State's second touchdown in a span of 9 seconds.

"We were sputtering a bit," Carpenter said. "We were driving and kept driving but we couldn't punch one in. It's always important to get a score before halftime, especially with the game how it was. When you have huge momentum shifts like that it usually takes life out of the other team. It's hard to battle back."

The Sun Devils coasted from there and are off to just their third 5-0 start since 1982 in Erickson's first year. Dimitri Nance added a 17-yard TD run and Herring scored on a 72-yard scamper in the fourth quarter as Arizona State won in its first road game of the season.

Stanford finished a season-opening four-game homestand under new coach Jim Harbaugh with only one win, a 37-0 decision over San Jose State. The Cardinal were outscored 141-51 in the three conference losses -- all to ranked teams -- and must now play their first road game next week at No. 1 Southern California.

"We need to do a better job as coaches and our players need to execute better themselves," Harbaugh said. "Tonight was the first time I feel we haven't gotten better this season. I feel we need to regroup and keep working hard."

Carpenter finished 20-for-27 for 259 yards and the score to help the Sun Devils win here for the first time since 1997. Ryan Torain ran for 103 yards on 16 carries.

Stanford, playing without injured running back Toby Gerhart, finished with minus-2 yards rushing. Part of that was attributable to the seven sacks allowed by the Cardinal, but Anthony Kimble also was held to 20 yards on 10 carries after running for 119 yards a week ago against Oregon. Ostrander finished 20-for-35 for 237 yards and Sherman had six catches for 105 yards.

"Everybody needs to take it upon themselves to get better individually," Ostrander said. "We need to do that and perform better as a team. It's frustrating because I know we're a better team than we showed tonight. We have to represent this school better than we did tonight."

Arizona State got field goals from Thomas Weber on its first two possessions to take a 6-0 lead. The Sun Devils began their first drive at the 48 after a facemask penalty on the opening kick to set up Weber's 41-yard field goal.

Ostrander fumbled on a sack by Dexter Davis on Stanford's first drive. Dane Guthrie recovered at the 21 to set up Weber's 32-yard field goal that made it 6-0. Weber added two more field goals in the third quarter.

That was all the scoring until the two big plays late in the half. Stanford got on the board on the final play of the half with Derek Belch's 42-yard field goal. Belch missed two other field goals attempts.