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After a couple of tough losses to BYU and St. Mary’s, Arizona State bounced back to defeat San Diego State, 34-15, in Tempe, Ariz., Saturday. A young team, the Sun Devils learned from the bruising losses, improving in ball possession and backline play.
“Our schedule this spring is amazingly tough, so we expected this week to see the same stuff that we did against BYU and St. Mary’s," Lane stated. “Every game we play, we play better rugby, we are holding onto the ball longer and we are on the right track.”
San Diego State opened the scoring with a penalty in the early minutes of the match. It took a while for the Sun Devils to get going, but they slowly took control of the game. “In the first half we were finding our feet a little bit,” said Arizona State head coach Gary Lane.
In the second half the Sun Devils limited their turnovers and kept possession of the ball. Multi-phase patterns led to several scores. ASU got tries from winger Alex Sandstrom, flanker Keenan Mayfield and Davaughn Foster. For Foster, it was his first try in a Sun Devil uniform. Mayfield had another tremendous game, and in Lane’s opinion, he's becoming quite a force in the Arizona State pack.
However, the result was due to an overall team performance that guided ASU to victory. “There was no one that really stood out as having a crazy game,” added Lane. “We started to control the game with quality first phase ball. Our backline took over the game and started to dominate.”
In the waning moments, ASU led 34-10, but two late yellow cards allowed the visitors to score a consolation try. The game ended 34-15 and proved to be a solid victory for the Sun Devils.
Arizona State will play another top tier opponent next week when its opens PAC play with a visit to Cal. As a new member of the Varsity Cup, the Sun Devils are preparing for the tournament with a very rigorous non-conference and conference schedule.