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Herm Edwards: Oregon upset hopefully a step forward for young ASU football

Quarterback Jayden Daniels #5 of the Arizona State Sun Devils is surrounded by fans on the field after defeating the Oregon Ducks in the NCAAF game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 23, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Ducks 31-28. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona State Sun Devils’ upset win over then-No. 6 Oregon was preceded by some disappointing context.

ASU, after starting 5-1, went on a four-game losing streak to even its record to 5-5. After their fifth win of the season, it took the Sun Devils six weeks to get that final win necessary for bowl eligibility. ASU went from Pac-12 contention to clawing for a bowl spot.

The Sun Devils got that long-awaited sixth win against one of the best teams in the country, one that was eyeing a spot in the College Football Playoff.

“For us, going through what we went through for about a month of football, losing really close football games, trying to rally back in the fourth quarter, you feel good for the players and the coaching staff,” head coach Herm Edwards told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

“We didn’t handle success very good. We were 5-1, and I think a lot of players had the mindset, especially we’re so young, ‘This is easy.’ It’s not easy. Football’s never been easy. There’s a lot of work involved into it, and it’s hard to win games. They kept fighting through that month of football where we were losing close football games. And to win a game like this at home — I don’t know if you guys witnessed what happened after the game, but the fanbase and the fans, it was an electric atmosphere.”

The goalposts came down and fans stormed the playing field. Freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels jogged up into the stands to see his loved ones. Edwards stood midfield, discussing the upset with an ESPN reporter after stealing the show from Oregon, the marquee attraction.

Maybe that just showed what ASU’s season could have been. Edwards explained Monday the struggle that comes with coaching such a young football team; going into Saturday’s game, ASU had played 32 freshmen and started eight true freshmen this season. That includes the starting quarterback, Daniels.

“You look at them, and you go, ‘I can’t get mad at you. You don’t know,'” Edwards said Monday. “You don’t know until you go through it, right? So hopefully we learn something from that long losing streak we had. Hopefully this will compel us now to play a team that, it doesn’t matter what records are when you play Arizona. Everyone knows it. I learned that last year.”

The rivalry game is critical, no matter what. This year, it’s at home, and the Sun Devils have the chance to get to seven wins for the second season in a row under Edwards. ASU also has the chance to force Arizona to cap its season with a seven-game losing streak and finish with just four wins after starting 4-1.

“It’s quite a game for the fanbases, it’s going to be emotional,” Edwards said. “It’s at 8 o’clock at night, too. Can you imagine there’ll be some people excited at 8 o’clock at night, now?”

The Sun Devils just have to be able to do what they didn’t before: Know how to handle success.

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