Pac-10 Can’t Find Paradise in Hawaii : Sankey Leads Wake Forest by Arizona State in Aloha Bowl

From Associated Press

It’s a good thing Wake Forest Coach Jim Caldwell didn’t give in to Ben Sankey’s frequent requests for a position change.

During his four-year career at Wake Forest, Sankey, a backup quarterback until this season, asked for a switch so he could get more playing time.

Caldwell told Sankey to sit tight and good things would happen.

It did in the Aloha Bowl on Saturday, when Sankey ended his collegiate career by guiding the Demon Deacons (7-5) to a 23-3 victory over Arizona State (6-6).


Voted the game’s outstanding player, Sankey completed 13 of 22 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown and put his team in position for another touchdown and three field goals by Matthew Burdick. Sankey also ran 15 times for 56 yards.

“I can’t say enough about him,” Caldwell said. “We are indebted to his commitment to the program.

“He played behind someone for four years. He wanted to play another position--wide receiver or safety.

“He’s a tremendous individual.”

But Sankey wasn’t about to talk about the past. His focus remained on the Sun Devils.

“Arizona State underestimated us and came to play smash-mouth football,” Sankey said. “We were sluggish at first. That happens. But we worked our game plan. We did the little things and didn’t worry about 1/8Arizona State’s 3/8 defense.”

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, with Burdick and Mike Barth exchanging field goals.

In the third quarter, a partially blocked punt by Marvin Chalmers led to a 24-yard field goal by Burdick, and Sankey connected with Jimmy Caldwell--the coach’s son--on a 56-yard touchdown pass play. Caldwell caught the ball on a slant pattern, dodged two defenders and raced untouched into the end zone.


“I saw the safety cheating up,” Sankey said. “Jimmy ran a great route. I just look for his uniform. He did the rest. It was a momentum-builder.”

Arizona State Coach Bruce Snyder said, “We had a double-robber called. It was to take away that play. Once again, we didn’t make the play. But it was the right call.”

The final points came after Nick Murphy’s punt went out of bounds at the Wake Forest 49. On the ninth play of the drive, Morgan Kane dived over for the score.

“It was one of our better-played games offensively. And we shut down a team with a lot of weapons,” Jim Caldwell said.

“Our special teams also did well.”

Arizona State was dealt a setback before the kickoff when 10 players, three of them starters, came down with food poisoning.

“Not to make any excuses, but we woke up this morning with eight to 12 guys sick,” Snyder said.


“But that’s not to take away from Wake Forest. They’re strong, physical and I have a lot of admiration for them.

“They took us out of what we wanted to do.”

Among the Arizona State players affected by the outbreak were three starters--quarterback John Leonard, defensive tackle Jawell Samilton and safety Alfred Williams.

The Sun Devils had earlier lost quarterback Ryan Kealy because of a knee injury.

J.R. Redmond rushed for 89 yards in 17 carries for Arizona State.