ANAHEIM, CALIF., DEC. 30 -- Daniel Ford threw for a career-high 272 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Cox that capped a 24-point second quarter, as Arizona State beat Air Force, 33-28, in the Freedom Bowl tonight.

After the game, Arizona State Coach John Cooper, who led the Sun Devils to bowl appearances in each of his three seasons at the school, confirmed he will leave to become head coach at Ohio State.

Cooper, who last January guided Arizona State to its first Pacific-10 Conference championship and a 22-15 Rose Bowl victory over Michigan, will replace Earle Bruce, who was fired by Ohio State President Edward Jennings on Nov. 16, five days before the Buckeyes' season-ending game at Michigan.

With tonight's victory, the Sun Devils finished 7-4-1, while Air Force, losing for the first time in five bowls this decade, ended the year at 9-4.

Ford, a junior who was named Arizona State's most valuable player in the game, completed 16 of 30 passes. His previous career best was 233 yards in a season-opening victory at Illinois.

Arizona St. 0 24 3 6 33 Air Force 7 7 0 14 28

AF -- G. Johnson 12 run (Yarbrough kick)

ASU -- Williams 2 run (Zendejas kick)

ASU -- Harris 2 run (Zendejas kick)

ASU -- FG Zendejas 36

AF -- Booker 3 run (Yarbrough kick)

ASU -- Cox 61 pass from Ford (Zendejas kick)

ASU -- FG Zendejas 20

ASU -- Wendorf 20 run (kick failed)

AF -- Senn 10 pass from McDowell (run failed)

AF -- Senn 18 pass from McDowell (McDowell run)

A -- 33,261

Arizona St. Air Force First downs 22 21 Rushes-yards 42-187 60-309 Passing yards 272 117 Return yards 46 21 Passing 16-30-1 8-16-2 Punts-average 4-45 7-35 Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-1 Penalties-yards 10-86 5-65 Tim

RUSHING -- Arizona St.: Harris 13-93, Williams 13-66, Winsley 5-26, Wendorf 4-17, Cahoon 2-13, Ford 5 minus

PASSING -- Arizona St.: Ford 16-30-1-272 yards. Air Force: McDowell 5-7-0-66, Letnich 3-9-2-51.

RECEIVING -- Arizona St.: Cox 4-110, T. Johnson 4-45, Knudson 3-24, Garrett 2-49, Fair 1-19, Winsley 1-13,