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Sun Devils’ Herm Edwards ‘wasn’t trying to tie’ vs. Oregon State

Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on during pregame warm ups prior to the start of an NCAA football game against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on September 27, 2019 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

TEMPE, Ariz. — If you’ve been living under a rock for all these years or have forgotten, Herm Edwards plays to win the game.

He doesn’t play it to just play it, simply put.

Seventeen years ago the Arizona State head football coach famously made his philosophy known, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

On Saturday night, that methodology was on full display, as Edwards made a controversial decision to attempt a two-point conversion with 1:40 left in the game after driving 90 yards down the field in 11 plays for the score. And though the try failed, Edwards isn’t thinking differently about the approach.

“I wasn’t trying to tie a football game,” Edwards said. “I felt like we had the momentum of the game going and when I looked at it, it was very simple, for me, it was we’ve gone 90 yards, we convert a 4th-and-8 for a touchdown and we can’t make two yards?

“And then when you make it, you put them in a position where all of sudden, they got about a 1:40 left, two timeouts, and you put the onus on them. … I wanted to put the pressure on them.”

For Edwards, after watching his defense make three consecutive stops leading up to that decision, and with a shaky kicker on Oregon State’s sideline, the head coach saw an opportunity to seize the momentum gained in the offense’s scoring drive. Add in the factor of being on the road, the chance to win one and get out of there outweighed the possibility of failing to convert.

“We’re trying to develop a program here where we want to win games,” Edwards said. “When you’ve lost three in a row and you’re on the road, I’m not trying to tie the game to go to overtime. I don’t want to do that, I’m going to try to win.

“That’s just me, and I’ll take it, and anytime you do something like that there’s always two sides of it. … I wanted to take the lead and go OK, you guys haven’t played behind all day, we just went 90 yards on you, my defense has stopped you three times in a row … let’s see what happens now.”

Sun Devils lose George Lea for the season with a knee injury

Not only did the Sun Devils lose to Oregon State, the team also suffered a casualty along the defensive line.

Edwards confirmed Monday starting redshirt-senior defensive lineman George Lea is done for the season after suffering a knee injury in the first quarter of Saturday’s game.

“We lost George Lea for the rest of the year with a knee, so his season is over with. We’re going to miss him dearly, his leadership, his ability to play football helped us a lot, so our prayers go out to him as he’s going to have surgery, obviously,” Edwards said of the redshirt senior.

It’s a tough loss for the Sun Devils defense as Lea’s tied for second on the team in sacks with 2.5, while adding 24 total tackles and forcing a fumble. He also recovered a fumble.

With Lea out for the year, senior Roe Wilkins looks to be the next man up, having filled in for the injured lineman on Saturday. He finished with five total tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.


Edwards on becoming bowl eligible:

“When you have the opportunity to get into a bowl, that’s critical for your program. I think it would be really big for us because of how I’m thinking, if we have an opportunity to get into a bowl, with all these young guys, it speaks volumes of what we could get accomplished. Those extra days of practice, all that stuff helps you.

“It’s big, it’s big. It’s huge for our program to try to get that done and we got two games to get that solved.”

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