TUCSON - Arizona State has run a trick play with quarterback Rudy Carpenter standing back in punt formation a few times this season. On Saturday against Arizona, it worked — sort of.
On fourth-and-8 from the Arizona 38 in the first quarter, the Sun Devils lined up in the formation, and the Wildcats called timeout. Afterward, ASU coach Dirk Koetter sent his offense back on the field.
“We decided that they knew what was coming, so we would just put our offense out there,” Koetter said. “It was too long for a field goal and too close to punt, so we figured we’d just go for it.”
The Sun Devils did, and most of UA’s defensive personnel were on the field — except kick returner Syndric Steptoe, who lined up at safety. ASU exploited him, as Steptoe bit on tight end Zach Miller, enabling Carpenter to hit a wide-open Jamaal Lewis for a 38-yard touchdown.
The play was put in this week, and Carpenter said that Lewis was a very secondary receiver.
“I’m supposed to look for Zach Miller or (receiver) Mike Jones,” Carpenter said. “But a UA dude was in my face, I saw Jamaal, and I just threw it up there. You have to make a play.”
Starting left tackle Brandon Rodd did not play due to a ligament tear suffered in last week’s game against UCLA.
“He injured his knee in the first quarter in the UCLA game and played the whole game with it,” Koetter said. “What a stud. He tried to do it again, but in warm-ups, he couldn’t go.”
Rodd’s absence left the offensive line minus three starters — Andrew Carnahan and Stephen Berg are the others — from the start of the season. Redshirt freshman Richard Tuitu’u made his first start at tackle.
Receiver/cornerback Rudy Burgess (ankle) and receiver/kick returner Terry Richardson (knee) did not play. Defensive end Kyle Caldwell said he suffered a concussion during Saturday’s game but kept playing.
The victory was especially sweet for Caldwell, a second-generation Sun Devil. His father, Bryan, was a defensive lineman at ASU from 1978-82.
“I don’t think you can ask for much more than this,” Caldwell said. “My family is so close to this university, and to end my career like this, on a great day for the team and my family, is the best.”
The Caldwell pipeline to Tempe might not end. Kyle’s younger brother, Dane, plays eight-man high school football in Oklahoma.
Miller said the decision-making process on his future has not changed. He will file a draft-day projection request from the NFL’s underclassmen draft advisory council next week, then make a decision after ASU’s bowl game. . . .
Junior cornerback Justin Tryon had his first Division I-A interception. . . .
Carpenter has 21 touchdown passes on the season. This is a fifth straight year a Sun Devil QB has thrown at least 20 scoring passes.