It was another in a season full of comebacks for No. 4 Arizona State, but this one may go a long way in deciding the Rose Bowl race.
Terry Battle’s fourth touchdown of the game - a 25-yard run in the second overtime - and freshman Courtney Jackson’s 85-yard fumble return gave the Sun Devils a 48-35 victory over Southern California.
“I thought we had encountered everything we could this season. This one was totally different,” said Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder, whose team shut out Nebraska 19-0 here Sept. 21 and came from 21 points behind in the fourth quarter to beat UCLA 42-34 last week.
“We took USC’s best punch and didn’t go down. This is a really special team,” he said. “I don’t know how good we really are. That won’t be determined maybe until December.”
Arizona State (7-0, 4-0 Pac-10) forced overtime at 28-28 on Battle’s 7-yard TD run with 1:30 remaining.
USC (4-3, 2-2) scored first in overtime on Brad Otton’s 10-yard pass to Rodney Sermons. The Sun Devils matched it when Jake Plummer hit Keith Poole from 6 yards out.
Battle, who had a career-high 184 yards on 30 carries, gave Arizona State its first lead with a 25-yard run on the Sun Devils’ initial play of the second overtime.
On third-and-6 from the Arizona State 21, Otton fumbled a pitchout and Jackson scooped up the ball and raced untouched along the sidelines for the final points.
“I flipped it, like a shovel pass,” said Otton, 16 of 39 passing for 205 yards. “I was just trying to get rid of the ball. I’ve done that play a million times, and completed that pass a lot. I thought the ball was dead.”
“I looked at the ref and he gave me a look (like) he was saying, ‘I didn’t blow the whistle,’ so I ran,” said Jackson, who has played sparingly. “I didn’t know if it was a pass or what. I just picked up the ball and ran.”
The overflow crowd of 74,947 is the largest ever to watch an Arizona State game at Sun Devil Stadium.
“Brad Otton insisted he was trying to pass on the last play, to throw an underhanded pass, but the referee saw it differently,” USC coach John Robinson said. “It was a great football game. We gave it everything we had and we came up short.”
The win kept the Sun Devils in the Rose Bowl hunt and kept Plummer in the race for postseason honors. The senior completed 26 of 44 passes - both career bests - for 277 yards.
Arizona St. 48, USC 35 (2OT)
USC 14 0 0 14 7 0 - 35
ASU 0 14 0 14 7 13 - 48
USCAllred 15 pass from Otton (Abrams kick) USCWoods 13 run (Abrams kick) ASUT. Battle 32 run (Nycz kick) ASUT. Battle 18 run (Nycz kick) USCC. Miller 29 pass from Otton (Abrams kick) ASUBush 21 pass from Plummer (Nycz kick) USCSoward 98 kickoff return (Abrams kick) ASUT. Battle 7 run (Nycz kick) USCSermons 10 pass from Otten (Abrams kick) ASUPoole 6 pass from Plummer (Nycz kick) ASUT. Battle 25 run (Nycz kick) ASUC. Jackson 85 fumble recovery A-74,947.
USC ASU First downs 13 29 Rushes-yards 24-90 55-266 Passing 205 277 Comp-Att-Int 16-40-1 26-44-3 Return Yards 245 37 Punts-Avg. 11-49.1 10-46.3 Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-0 Penalties-Yards 12-92 8-60 Time of Possession 22:02 37:58
RUSHINGUSC, Woods 15-56, Washington 5-21, Otton 1-7, Sermons 2-5, Walters 1-1. Arizona St., T. Battle 30-184, Redmond 9-43, Plummer 13-31, Paulk 3-8.
PASSINGUSC, Otton 16-39-1-205, Bastianelli 0-1-0-0. Arizona St., Plummer 26-44-3-277.
RECEIVINGUSC, Allred 4-38, C.Miller 3-66, Sermons 3-23, Bastianelli 2-36, B.Miller 2-16, Diltz 1-22, Woods 1-4. Arizona St., Poole 7-103, Bush 7-78, L.Jackson 3-13, Mitchell 2-36, Kendall 2-14, Mustafa 1-18, Boyer 1-9, Bates 1-7, Redmond 1-3, T. Battle 1-(minus 4).
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