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Wake Forest 23, Arizona St. 3
Posted: Saturday December 25, 1999 11:57 PM
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HONOLULU (Ticker) -- The Arizona State Sun Devils were sick to their stomachs -- before and after the Aloha Bowl.

Ben Sankey threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Caldwell in the third quarter as Wake Forest exploded for 20 second-half points en route to a 23-3 victory over the Sun Devils.

Morgan Kane scored on a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter and Matthew Burdick kicked three field goals for Wake Forest (7-5), which recorded its first postseason victory since defeating Oregon, 39-35, in the Independence Bowl in 1992. That triumph completed the Demon Deacons' last winning season.

Wake Forest finished this season with victories in three of its last four games.

"When we went in the halftime locker room, I really felt two of the three phases of our team were playing great -- the defense and special teams," Demon Deacons coach Jim Caldwell said. "It took us a while to get the offense untracked, but we are not going to blow anybody away, especially a team like Arizona State."

With several players feeling the effects of food poisoning from Friday night, Arizona State (6-6) was held to 164 yards of total offense as backup quarterbacks John Leonard and Griffin Goodman were sacked five times. Starter Ryan Kealy was out with a torn right ACL.

Appearing in a bowl game for the third time in four seasons, the Sun Devils closed with losses in three of their last five games.

"We had, and this is certainly not an excuse, eight to 12 guys really sick this morning," Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder said. "Quarterback John Leonard and free safety Alfred Williams were two of them. I feel that influenced the outcome of this game as much as anything."

A blocked punt by Wake Forest wide receiver Marvin Chalmers set up Burdick's 24-yard field goal with 9:18 left in the third quarter that broke a 3-3 tie.

After Mike Barth missed a 42-yard field goal attempt on Arizona State's next possession, Wake Forest opened a 10-point lead as Sankey took advantage of a nine-man defensive front on 3rd-and-5 and connected with Caldwell for a 56-yard score. Caldwell is the coach's son.

Kane's one-yard score just under four minutes into the fourth quarter gave Wake Forest a commanding 20-3 lead. Burdick booted a 43-yard field goal with 5:39 left to finish the scoring.

Sankey completed 13-of-22 passes for 188 yards and rushed for 56 yards on 15 carries. Kane, who ran for 1,161 yards during the season, added 83 on 20 rushes. They helped Wake Forest rack up 350 yards of total offense.

"The offense came out a little sluggish, but we knew if we stuck with the basics we would be all right," Sankey said. "Coach Caldwell called a great game, and we just knew if we continued to do the things we are capable of doing that things would come out in our favor. We kept knocking at the door and got a couple of field goals, and then we finally scored a touchdown."

The game lacked the firepower of last year's Aloha Bowl, when Colorado outscored Oregon, 51-43.

Wake Forest drove 70 yards on its first possession of the game, leading to a 22-yard field goal by Burdick with 8:18 to go in the opening quarter.

The Sun Devils got 41 of their 75 first-half yards on their opening drive of the second period. Mike Barth capped the possession with a tying 46-yard field goal.

Goodman played the first half and was 10-of-15 for 42 yards with four sacks. Leonard, a junior college transfer, was 5-of-10 for 28 yards.

J.R. Redmond, who led Arizona State with 1,085 rushing yards during the season, had 89 on 17 carries.

"We did not make enough plays to win this game," Snyder said.

"The plays that stand out in my mind are the dropped passes and some key defensive plays that we could have made. Wake Forest also did a great job in not allowing us to make plays. We just couldn't get any rhythm."

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