Final - 2OT
  for this game

Blocked kick in OT sends UNLV to upset of Arizona State

Sep 14, 2008 - 7:44 AM TEMPE, Arizona (Ticker) -- After suggesting all week it was not looking forward to next week's showdown with second-ranked Georgia, Arizona State still was blindsided.

Malo Taumua blocked a field goal in overtime, propelling Nevada-Las Vegas to a wild 23-20 upset of 13th-ranked Arizona State on Saturday.

After forcing the game into overtime with a spectacular one-handed touchdown grab by Phillip Payne on a nine-yard pass with 18 seconds remaining in regulation, UNLV's Kyle Watson converted a 20-yard field goal to give the Rebels (2-1) a 23-20 lead in the extra session.

"I didn't even know what play it was, I just turned around and saw (quarterback Omar Clayton) running and I came back to the ball and made the catch," Pierce said. "I was shocked."

Following three plays on its possession in overtime, Arizona State (2-1) turned to Thomas Weber to knot the game. But Taumua came up the middle to reject the potential game-tying kick and give the Rebels an unbelievable victory.

The loss takes most of the luster out of next Saturday's matchup with Georgia as Arizona State, the only team that faces No. 1 Southern California and the Bulldogs - currently the top two teams in the nation - was hoping to create chaos atop the rankings - a fact not lost on Rebels coach Mike Sanford.

"Yes, we (played it up to the team that Arizona State may be looking ahead to Georgia), of course," Sanford said. "We were out to gain respect. ... I am overwhelmed. But at the same time, I knew we were going to win the game."

The upset also capped a humbling four-game sweep of the Pacific-10 by the Mountain West Conference on Saturday after Texas Christian beat Stanford, 31-14, New Mexico defeated Arizona, 36-28, and Brigham Young pummeled UCLA, 59-0.

Clayton, who extended the pivotal play to Payne by escaping a fierce Sun Devils pass rush, went 19-of-31 for 192 yards and two TDs.

After easy wins over Northern Arizona and Stanford, the Sun Devils found themselves in a dogfight with the Rebels from the start.

"We didn't make any plays offensively," Sun Devils coach Dennis Erickson said. "It's sickening. It starts with me. I didn't have them ready to play and I'll take the blame. But we have to play better as a group. There are a lot of guys in that locker room that understand that."

With the game tied at 3-3 in the second quarter, Rudy Carpenter hit Chris McGaha on a 22-yard scoring strike at the 4:53 mark to give Arizona State a 10-3 advantage.

Following a late first-half interception by Carpenter, Clayton knotted the game with a two-yard TD pass with 33 seconds remaining before halftime. But the Sun Devils' signal-caller led a quick four-play drive to get Arizona State in position for a 49-yard field goal from Thomas Weber to take a 13-10 halftime advantage.

Carpenter appeared to put the Sun Devils in the driver's seat with a 49-yard TD pass to Kyle Williams early in the third quarter to stake them to a 20-10 advantage.

But the Rebels owned the fourth quarter, moving to within a touchdown on a 20-yard field goal from Watson to end a drive that chewed up over nine minutes.

Then, after forcing a punt on the Sun Devils' only significant possession of the fourth, the Rebels tied the game at 20-20 when Clayton connected with Payne.

"We knew if we got the last two stops (on defense), we'd have a chance," Clayton said. "We had to believe that if we got the ball, we had a chance, and we'd have to take advantage of it. We knew we could win if we got the ball back."