Sun Devils can’t stay out of own way in home loss to Washington State

Oct 30, 2021, 5:42 PM
Arizona State receiver Bryan Thompson (22) reacts to missing a ball right in his hands against Wash...

Arizona State receiver Bryan Thompson (22) reacts to missing a ball right in his hands against Washington State during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct 30, 2021, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

TEMPE — Arizona State played its worst game of the 2021 season on Saturday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium.

In a 34-21 loss to the Washington State Cougars, ASU (5-3; 3-2 Pac-12) committed a whopping five turnovers and seven penalties for 40 yards — something that has become a common theme in the team’s now three losses this year.

WSU scored 24 points off Sun Devil turnovers and two of ASU’s penalties negated a 56-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jayden Daniels and a made field goal by Cristian Zendejas — taking 10 Arizona State points off the board in the first half.

“Offensively we could never get out of our own way,” head coach Herm Edwards said postgame.

“We dropped some big-time balls on third down and even in the red zone. We got down there and didn’t score. You have to catch those balls when you’re playing a game like this and you’re behind, you can’t make those kinds of glaring errors and that’s kind of what happened to us.”

Perhaps the opening three drives — or first three Arizona State plays — should have been an indicator for what was to come, as both running back DeaMonte “Chip” Trayanum and wideout Bryan Thompson fumbled on the first and third offensive snaps of the game for ASU, respectively.

And on the following drive for the Sun Devils, Daniels threw his first of two interceptions on the day to make it three giveaways in the opening 11 minutes of the ballgame.

“It’s very frustrating because that’s something we harped on this whole week, the coaching staff did,” Daniels said postgame. “Just watching film you see that they’re ball hungry, so they’re going to go after the ball.

“It’s frustrating we put the defense in bad positions. We can’t expect the defense to hold up for four quarters if we’re going to just keep giving Washington State the ball, giving the defense short (fields), momentum — that was a big thing. It’s just frustrating. I have no words for the turnovers. I mean two of them are on me but at the end of the day I have to play better, the offense has to play better just as a whole.”

The loss marks the second in a row for ASU, meaning Arizona State’s last win came on Oct. 8, a 28-10 home win over Stanford. The defeat is also the first of the season at Sun Devil Stadium, bringing the team’s record in Tempe this year to 4-1.

“They did a nice job of really getting out to an early lead at home against us and I think our players maybe took this home venue for granted thinking that when you play at home, everything is supposed to work out,” Edwards said.

“Well it doesn’t work out when you turn the ball over and you drop balls and you give big plays in the passing game, so we have a lot of fixing to do.”

The second half left little to be desired, as the first five drives each resulted in punts after neither team’s punters even saw the field in the first half.

ASU’s final score of the game came in last 30 seconds with backup quarterback Trenton Bourguet under center, who found wide receiver Andre Johnson open in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass.

“Everybody was in shock,” Daniels said. “You could feel it in the whole stadium down 28-0. … At the end of the day, we didn’t handle adversity well just like two weeks ago in Utah.

“So that’s just something as a team we have to do better, especially as an offense and that just starts with me getting those guys together. Like I said, it’s just frustrating.”


The Sun Devils were without starting WR Johnny Wilson (hamstring) and starting RB Rachaad White, the latter of whom warmed up but did not play against Washington State.

Edwards said Wilson was still a little sore and didn’t want to chance it, while White was not 100% so the head coach didn’t want to put him in a bad spot.


Arizona State hosts the USC Trojans on Nov. 6 at Sun Devil Stadium. However, a kickoff time has yet to be announced.

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