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Beavers go down in flames in Sun Devil Stadium, again.

Byline: Bob Clark The Register-Guard

TEMPE, Ariz. - If it could go wrong for Oregon State, it did Saturday night.

Sean Canfield was intercepted five times. The OSU secondary lost track of receivers. A punt was fumbled. There was an inopportune penalty or two, a reversal on a review of what could have been a key gain for the Beavers, and a six-yard punt by Alexis Serna.

Not even OSU's early 19-0 lead was enough to overcome all of that as Arizona State came back for a 44-32 victory before 56,099 in Sun Devil Stadium.

"Probably a lot of plays we'll look back at and say it could have been different," OSU coach Mike Riley said. "It didn't have to be like that. We made way too many errors to beat a good football team."

Maybe this place is simply hexed for the Beavers. That makes it 16 consecutive times that OSU has lost to the Sun Devils here, a streak that dates back to a 1969 triumph by the Beavers.

On the other hand, it's all but impossible to win with that many mistakes, particularly against an ASU team that shook off its early miscues to keep itself unbeaten at 4-0 with this triumph in the Pac-10 opener for both teams. The Beavers (2-2 overall) head into consecutive home games against UCLA and Arizona knowing they let one get away in the desert.

"We had an opportunity," Riley said. "It was bitterly, bitterly disappointing because we had a chance to do something that hadn't been done in quite a while and we let it slip away. It would have been great for our football team but we didn't earn it."

The worst of it for OSU was Canfield's five interceptions, which give him 10 through four games. The Beavers had nine interceptions, as a team, in 14 games last season.

One of Canfield's interceptions was caused when his arm was hit as he was throwing. Another came because a receiver slipped down.

"It's frustrating but those things are going to happen," Canfield said. "I did some good things but (there were) too many mistakes.

"I've just got to play better than that."

Four of Canfield's interceptions came in the second half. The first only stopped an OSU drive in ASU territory, but the next two set up touchdowns for the Sun Devils on passes from Rudy Carpenter. Those two scores put the Sun Devils up 34-26, and later Ryan Torain ran 41 yards for another score to put it away.

After leading 19-13 at halftime, the Beavers expanded their lead to 26-13 when Brandon Powers was credited with a 20-yard touchdown run on a swing pass from Canfield that was statistically ruled a lateral.

It was a play the Beavers were successful with often, and this one worked so well because of a block by Sammie Stroughter on the one Sun Devil who might have made the tackle.

It wasn't nearly enough.

The Sun Devils had the lead by the end of the third quarter with a pair of drives that each lasted one play, on passes from Carpenter.

The ASU quarterback finished with 361 passing yards, and four touchdowns among his 25 completions.

He was sacked four times, but the Beavers had to rue the times he got away, including once when he had the football slapped out of his hand but picked it back up, scrambled out of the pocket and completed a 33-yard pass.

"I don't know (how) he made a couple of those plays," Riley said.

Elusive hasn't been the usual description of Carpenter, but on this night he brought back memories of Jake Plummer, the "Snake" who was inducted into ASU's athletic hall of fame at halftime.

"He was faster than I expected," OSU defensive end Victor Butler said of Carpenter. "We figured we could contain him ... a couple times he got outside but overall I thought we contained him."

The Beavers made a bid to take complete control in the first quarter, jumping off to a 19-0 lead in the first nine minutes of the game. False hope, that.

The Sun Devils came back from an early 14-point deficit a couple of weeks ago to beat Colorado, and they're fast becoming the Pac-10's never-say-die team.

"We all know it's a long game," Riley said. "I'm not naive to the fact it's a long game and we have to keep playing."

OSU had points on the scoreboard before the Beavers even ran an offensive play, when an errant snap went over the head of ASU punter Jonathan Johnson and had to be downed in the end zone for a safety. Then came two touchdowns and a field goal before the first quarter ended.

On his way to 324 passing yards, Canfield had 108 in the opening 15 minutes, on nine completions.

"I thought he made some very good throws," Riley said.

Not so good were the later interceptions.

"It's about decision making," Riley added.
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Title Annotation:Sports; ASU capitalizes on mistakes for its 16th consecutive win at home over Oregon State
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 23, 2007
Previous Article:BRIEFLY.
Next Article:Ducks rebound by taking down Washington State.

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