ASU football loses to Stanford despite not allowing a touchdown
PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Joshua Karty kicked five field goals, lifting Stanford to a come-from-behind, 15-14 win over Arizona State in the homecoming game on Saturday afternoon.
The Sun Devils (2-5, 1-3 Pac-12) defense did not allow a touchdown and registered four sacks and one interception after coming into the ballgame with only three sacks on the season.
“We didn’t give up any touchdowns but we gave up 15 points and we lost,” ASU safety Jordan Clark told reporters postgame. “It’s good to finish drives but you got to start drives every series.
“There’s some early stops we could’ve got that I think give the offense better field position. … We got to make plays earlier. It’s not bend don’t break, it’s never been any of that (explitive). You got to be great the whole time, not just at the end.”
Karty’s five field goals tied the all-time single-game record for the Cardinal (3-4, 1-4), who snapped a school-record 10-game conference losing streak. Stanford had not won a game against a Pac-12 opponent since it beat Oregon 31-24 on Oct. 2, 2021.
“We’re finding our groove,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said. “This is how hard we play and how hard we push to finish in those games. The ball bounced our way a couple times, which is great — the ball bounced against us a couple times too throughout the season.”
The decisive field goal came with 6:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. Karty converted from 47 yards, matching his second-longest attempt of the season. Named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week twice in the last three games, Karty has not missed a kick this season, making all 12 of his field goal attempts.
Shaw said Stanford recruited Karty with the belief that he could become the best college kicker in the country — and Shaw thinks he may be nearing his full potential this season.
“Of course I believe I am the best kicker in America. I kind of have to,” Karty said. “A lot of that is due to (special teams coordinator Pete Alamar). He kind of pulled me aside before the season and kind of reinforced why I’m here, who I am, and just helped me with my mentality a lot.”
The Sun Devils have not won at Stanford Stadium since 2007, dropping four straight on the road to the Cardinal in that span.
Arizona State’s Emory Jones was 14 of 25 passing but Stanford’s pass defense, which entered Saturday ranked second in the conference surrendering 212.3 receiving yards per game, held Arizona State to 227 yards.
“We weren’t efficient enough on offense,” Arizona State interim coach Shaun Aguano said. “Our defense did a great job … keeping them out of the end zone. Fifteen points (allowed) should win football games.”
The Sun Devils led 14-6 after Elijhah Badger caught a 39-yard touchdown pass a minute into the second quarter. Badger made six catches for a career-best 118 yards.
“I feel like every drive I was in a pretty good rhythm, better than usual,” Badger said. “I just feel like it gets better every week, just going to keep getting better.”
Stanford had not allowed its opponent to score in the first quarter in its last two games against Oregon State and Notre Dame, but the Sun Devils ended the streak when Xazavian Valladay ran for a 15-yard touchdown.
Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee, who completed a career-high 33 of 57 attempted passes for 320 yards, has been held without a touchdown in back-to-back games after recording multiple in each of Stanford’s first five games.
“It was enough to get the (win), but obviously not good enough moving forward,” McKee said. “Lot of things to work on, and a lot of things to get better at, but obviously happy with the result today.”
– Entering Saturday, ASU’s Valladay led all active FBS players with 3,847 career rushing yards and was averaging 94.3 yards per game this season. Stanford’s defense held him to 76 yards on Saturday, leaving him 77 short of 4,000 yards in his Arizona State career.
– Stanford beat a Pac-12 opponent for the first time since Oct. 2, 2021, snapping a school-record 10-game conference losing streak. In those 10 games, the Cardinal averaged 19 points per game while allowing an average of 36.4 to its opponents, a differential of more than 17 points.
Arizona State visits Colorado next Saturday at 4:30 p.m.