PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Joshua Karty has streaked five field goals and guided Stanford to a 15-14 win over Arizona State in Saturday afternoon’s homecoming game.
The Sun Devils’ defense (2-5, 1-3 Pac-12) didn’t concede a touchdown and registered four sacks and one interception after coming into the ballgame with just three sacks in the season.
“We didn’t give up any touchdowns, but we gave up 15 points and lost,” ASU safety man Jordan Clark told reporters after the game. “It’s good to finish rides, but you have to start every series with rides.
“There are some early stops we could have made that I think give the offense better field position. … We have to play earlier. It doesn’t bend, it doesn’t break, it never was any of that (explicit). You have to be great all the time, not just at the end.”
Karty’s five field goals set the all-time single-game record for the Cardinal (3-4, 1-4), who went on a school-record-breaking 10-game conference losing streak. Stanford had not won a game against a Pac-12 opponent since his 31-24 win over Oregon on October 2, 2021.
“We find our groove,” said Stanford head coach David Shaw. “That’s how hard we play and how hard we try to finish these games. The ball bounced our way a few times, which is great – the ball bounced at us a few times throughout the season as well.
The deciding field goal came at 6:28 in the fourth quarter. Karty converted from 47 yards, matching his second-longest attempt of the season. Karty, who has been named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week twice in his last three games, has not missed a kick this season and has made 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 believes he could be nearing his full potential this season.
“Of course I think I’m the best kicker in America. I kind of have to,” Karty said. “A lot of this is thanks to (special team coordinator Pete Alamar). He kind of pulled me aside before the season and kind of reinforced why I’m here, who I am and helped me a lot with my mentality.
The Sun Devils have not won at Stanford Stadium since 2007 and have lost four straight en route to the Cardinal in that span.
Arizona State’s Emory Jones was 14 of 25 passes, but Stanford’s pass defense, who entered Saturday’s conference second and gave up 212.3 yards per game, held Arizona State at 227 yards.
“We weren’t efficient enough going forward,” said Shaun Aguano, Arizona State interim coach. “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 I’ve been in a pretty good rhythm on every ride, better than usual,” Badger said. “I just feel like it’s getting better every week, it’s just getting better and better.”
Stanford hadn’t allowed his opponent to score in the first quarter in his 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 consecutive games after recording several in each of Stanford’s first five games.
“It was enough to get the (win) but obviously not good enough to move forward,” McKee said. “There’s a lot of things to work on and a lot of things to improve on, but obviously happy with today’s result.”
THE TAKE AWAY
– On Saturday, ASU’s Valladay led all active FBS players with 3,847 career rushing yards and averaged 94.3 yards per game this season. Stanford’s defense held him at 76 yards Saturday, leaving him just under 4,000 yards in his Arizona State 77 career.
– Stanford defeated a Pac-12 opponent for the first time since October 2, 2021, breaking a school-record-breaking 10-game conference losing streak. In those 10 games, the Cardinal averaged 19 points per game while conceding an average of 36.4 to his opponents, a difference of more than 17 points.
The state of Arizona visits Colorado next Saturday at 4:30 p.m