for this game

ASU beats Washington State, off to best start since 1996

Oct 7, 2007 - 3:17 AM PULLMAN, Washington (Ticker) -- The Dennis Erickson era keeps getting better and better at Arizona State.

Thomas Weber kicked a game-winning 37-yard field goal and Rudy Carpenter threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns as the 18th-ranked Sun Devils defeated Washington State, 23-20, in a Pac-10 Conference thriller on Saturday.

In his first season as Arizona State's coach, Erickson has guided the Sun Devils (6-0, 3-0 Pac-10) to its best start since 1996. That year, the Sun Devils went on to an 11-0 regular season but lost in the Rose Bowl to Ohio State.

"We didn't play like we needed to but it was a good win for us," Erickson said. "Any time in this league when you can win one on the road, it makes a difference. We showed a lot of character coming back when it was tied. It was a good win for us."

Tied, 20-20, Arizona State went 45 yards in eight plays to set up Weber's game-winner with 50 seconds remaining.

"It's exciting," Weber said. "Only the sixth game in my career and to hit a game-winning field goal makes everything feel great."

The Cougars had one last chance to tie the game, but Romeen Abdollmohammadi's 46-yard field goal sailed wide left with 12 seconds to go.

"We were two feet away from an overtime game with the No. 18 team in the nation," Washington State coach Bill Doba said. "But it's not a win, and that's what I stressed to the guys.

"We got closer, I think we got better. I think we can take some positives things from this, but we need to win."

Ryan Torain added 121 yards on the ground for the Sun Devils, who won their second straight Pac-10 road game after snapping a 14-game conference road losing streak last week at Stanford.

Alex Brink passed for 369 yards and two touchdowns for Washington State (2-4, 0-3), which lost to ASU for the fourth straight time. The Cougars' quarterback - who became the school career leader in passing yards - completed 27-of-50 passes after starting the game just 1-of-9.

"Personal accomplishments don't mean a lot right now honestly," Brink said. "This is a rough stretch for our team. At some point, I'm sure that (career passing leader) will sink in, but right now I'm feeling that loss."

ASU took the lead on a 69-yard interception return by cornerback Justin Tryon to give the Sun Devils a 14-10 advantage early in the third quarter.

The Cougars answered right back to regain the lead when Brink found tight end Devin Frischknecht for a 13-yard touchdown, giving Washington State a 17-14 lead midway through the third quarter.

The Sun Devils went back in front on their next possession when Carpenter hit tight end Brady Conrad for a three-yard score. The extra point was blocked as ASU led, 20-17, with 2:51 left in the third.

Washington State tied the score at 20-20 on Abdollmohammadi's 38-yard field goal with 3:58 left to play.

"I knew it was going to be a tough game coming in," Erickson said. "I told the team there isn't going to be a tougher place to play. I've been there on both sides of it coming in here as an opposing coach and being here when other teams have come into play.

"A lot of teams have left here with their head between their legs, so that is just how it is."