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Sun Devils: Don’t worry, be happy

Saturday was a great day for ASU.

No matter what you saw on Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium, remember one thing. The only team from the Pac-12 South eligible to win the division and won was ASU.

Arizona, Utah, Colorado and UCLA all lost.

When the competition is as putrid as Oregon State, the expectation is complete destruction by the better team. Judging by the score, the fact that Oregon State had a lead and the number of Sun Devil turnovers, it’s easy to come to the decision that ASU had a massive let down. Although the facts are on your side, I would disagree.

Sometimes the judgment of a team can’t be made because one person does not make a team. ASU played excellent football on Saturday. Brock Osweiler played terrible. The Devils should be applauded for their performance in overcoming their opponent and their quarterback.

Don’t read a deeper meaning into this blog. Brock Osweiler should not be benched. His ability to lead this team to a Pac-12 Championship shouldn’t begin to waiver. The kid just had a bad game.

He had four turnovers. None of his three interceptions were tipped balls or thrown under tremendous pressure that forced a bad decision. His fumble wasn’t on a blindside hit. He was forced to scramble on the play but he had plenty of time to secure the football. Osweiler tried to force some things that weren’t there or telegraphed his intentions on plays that were there.

This is not a terrible negative because ASU got the win. ASU gained more experience for their quarterback. ASU has an excellent offensive coordinator (Noel Mazzone) who will show Osweiler his errors in an easily digestible way. Osweiler has the desire to get better so he will listen and get improve.

Obviously, this is a strange introduction to a positive blog on the Devils win against Oregon State. There isn’t a bus being aimed at Osweiler but if you take the rest of the game in the context of Osweiler’s struggles, what else would you have a problem with?

Oregon State only had 47 yards rushing. This is a team with a young quarterback who had a first quarter lead. The scenario screams for an eat the clock running attack that keeps the defense on the field. Despite the Beavers attempts at running the football, they were continually thwarted.

Oregon State had excellent field position most of the game due to the turnovers. Oregon State had 16 drives and only 6 of them started inside their own 25. Two of those drives started in the red zone and one was at midfield. Despite short rest between series and their own uprights stabbing them in the back at the beginning of each drive, the defense allowed only 2 TD’s. Every time the defense earned a stop, the offense turned the ball over. It could have demoralized a weaker-minded team. The defense just kept coming.

The penalties killed Oregon State but these were penalties that must be credited to the defense. Jamaar Jarret had 2 sacks and 14 million pressures. He was lined up against an all-conference senior offensive tackle (Mike Remmers) but didn’t stay lined-up against him very long. QB Sean Mannion had Jarrett in his face all game. Remmers was forced to hold, grab, tackle and maul Jarrett to keep him off the QB. The vast majority of Beaver penalties was caused by the relentlessness of the ASU defense.

Vontaze Burfict showed leadership on the field and on the sidelines. Alden Darby was magnificent in the secondary. Collin Parker played his customary “do whatever it takes to win” style. Coleman spent some time in the offensive backfield. Although Elder is the worst pass-catcher of all-time, he was in on every pass play.

Cameron Marshall was a beast. 5.7 yards a carry on a bad ankle. The offense lost their center and just plugged in another with only one bad snap. The receivers didn’t have 15 dropped passes. There is nothing else in the game of football that you could have asked Jamal Miles to do that he didn’t do against Oregon State.

Special teams did miss a field goal. I’ll take that when the punt cover team holds one of the best punt returners in college football to 20 yards below his average and earns a takeaway. Punt return scored a back breaking TD. KO cover was above average.

When you combine everything that happened that was negative from the Osweiler turnovers and compare it to what should have happened, ASU wasn’t lucky to win this game. They were mentally superior and isn’t that what we’ve been looking towards for the last three years?