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Sun Devils Battle Back for Victory

November 03, 1996|From Associated Press

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Terry Battle returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards for the go-ahead touchdown and set up another score with a 50-yard run Saturday as No. 4 Arizona State beat surprisingly tough Oregon State, 29-14.

The Beavers, winners of just two of their last 18 games and 23-point underdogs, led 14-9 at halftime behind the running of option quarterback Tim Alexander.

Alexander rushed for 153 yards in 21 carries, including a 48-yard touchdown run, in his first game since he pulled a hamstring against Baylor Sept. 21.

The Sun Devils (9-0 and 6-0 in the Pacific 10) didn't clinch the victory until Damien Richardson intercepted Alexander's pass and returned it 51 yards to the Oregon State 2 with 2:22 to play. Battle scored on the next play to put the game safely out of reach.

With Jake Plummer having an off-game passing (11-of-22, 146 yards), Battle and Jeff Paulk rushed for more than 100 yards apiece. Battle gained 190 yards in 21 carries and Paulk had a 114 yards in 11 attempts.

The second-half kickoff was high and deep and Battle caught it at the goal line, headed upfield, took a few steps to his right and raced the length of the field to put the Sun Devils ahead for good 15-14 just 14 seconds into the second half.

Oregon State (1-7, 1-5) gained all 245 of their first-half yards rushing. Arizona State, the Pac-10 leader in rushing defense, hadn't given up more than 130 yards rushing in a game this season.

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