Rushing attacks of ASU and Oregon State to take center stage in Corvallis

Nov 19, 2021, 7:00 AM
Arizona State's Rachaad White (3) carries agianst Washington during the second half of an NCAA coll...

Arizona State's Rachaad White (3) carries agianst Washington during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Progress toward a high-caliber bowl game for Arizona State will have to go through a place where many Sun Devil dreams have died before: Corvallis, Oregon.

ASU will take on the back half of its two-game road trip in the Pacific Northwest against the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday.

The Sun Devils came back from a 24-14 deficit to escape Washington with a 35-30 win last week.

OSU is 5-0 at home this season, its best mark since 2012. The Beavers are coming off of a 35-14 home victory last week against Stanford. That win made the team bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.

A win against the Sun Devils would mark OSU’s first undefeated home season since 2000.

In order to avoid that, ASU would have to win its second consecutive game in Corvallis after last year’s 46-33 win at Reser Stadium. The Sun Devils have not managed consecutive wins at Corvallis since 1996-1997.

Essential Info

What: Arizona State (7-3, 5-2) at Oregon State (6-4, 4-3)

When: Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Betting line via FanDuel: ASU -3.5


Radio: 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station

Battle of rushing attacks

If you like good running plays, Saturday night in Corvallis will provide plenty of entertainment.

Both the Sun Devils and the Beavers enter this weekend with top-20 rushing attacks nationally.

ASU is fourth in the Pac-12 and 19th in the country with 212.5 yards per game. Meanwhile, the Beavers lead the conference and are seventh in the nation with 228.7 yards per game.

Arizona State’s hot hand, redshirt senior running back Rachaad White, recently accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl. His production has equated to at least 55% of the Sun Devils’ total offensive production in each of their past two games.

Oregon State’s rushing attack starts with redshirt junior running back B.J. Baylor. Baylor leads the Pac-12 with 105 rushing yards per game. He eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark last weekend, becoming the ninth player in OSU history to have a 1,000-yard season.

ASU head coach Herm Edwards said part of the Beavers’ success comes from its offensive versatility.

“They’re multi-dimensional and use a lot of formations and a lot of movement,” Edwards said.

That versatility does not stop with formations. A second running back, redshirt sophomore Deshaun Fenwick, has handled carries on occasion.

Fenwick ran the ball six times for 50 yards against Stanford last week. He has 430 yards for the season with four touchdowns. His best single-game performance was a 127-yard performance on 15 carries against Washington State on Oct. 9.

Butler and other linebackers to step into spotlight

With two fantastic rushing attacks on display, the ability to stop runners will be crucial. That means linebackers will be in the spotlight.

For Arizona State, senior linebacker Darian Butler leads the group with performance and veteran experience. His eight tackles last week led the Sun Devils.

For the season, Butler leads the team with 68 tackles and 8.5 tackles for a loss. He also has two sacks and three interceptions.

Butler has come a long way in his ASU career, and Edwards said his physical build is just part of it.

“He’s just a different person,” Edwards said. “You watch our tape and you watch him flash. That’s the confidence the guy has and he understands the defense and gets guys lined up.”

Even with that, Butler always has a point he wants to get across on the field.

“He’s always going to be that guy that has to try to prove himself,” Edwards said. “All I know is that when the ball gets thrown or they run it, Butler’s around.”

Butler’s not the only one leading the charge.

Graduate senior linebacker Kyle Soelle also performed well in Seattle with six tackles. He’s second on the team with 61 tackles, with 5.5 of those going for a loss.

Senior linebacker Merlin Robertson had the pick-six that sealed last weekend’s win. He, like Butler, has three interceptions on the season. Robertson also has 50 tackles this year.

Edwards said that big plays like Robertson’s down the stretch may need to come up again given previous history against the Beavers.

“It always goes down to the fourth quarter it seems with these guys, so we’re excited about the opportunity,” Edwards said.

Arizona State Football

Arizona State DB Jack Jones celebrates an 87-yard pick-six in a 38-15 win over Arizona in the Terri...
Jake Anderson

Arizona State’s defense bends but doesn’t break in Territorial Cup win

Bend but don't break. That was the calling card for ASU's defense in Saturday's 38-15 Territorial Cup win over Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium.
21 hours ago
Defensive back Chase Lucas #24 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates with the Territorial Cup ...
Arizona Sports

ASU CB Chase Lucas runs into student section with Territorial Cup

ASU cornerback Chase Lucas celebrated with the fans by taking the Territorial Cup into the stands after Saturday's win over Arizona.
21 hours ago
TEMPE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 30: Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils watches from t...
Wills Rice

ASU’s Herm Edwards after Territorial Cup win: “I’m the coach, I’m going to be the coach”

ASU won its fifth consecutive Territorial Cup and after the game, the same message was repeated. "Herm (Edwards) is back next year."
21 hours ago
Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels runs against Arizona in the first half during an NCAA coll...
Alex Weiner

ASU QB Jayden Daniels runs wild in 2nd half of Territorial Cup win

Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels started off a commanding second half with a 48-yard touchdown run in Saturday's win over the Wildcats.
21 hours ago
TEMPE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 27: Wide receiver Ricky Pearsall #19 of the Arizona State Sun Devils cele...
Wills Rice

ASU defense leads the way in 1st half against Arizona in Territorial Cup

ASU has leaned on its defense at many different times this year, but during Saturday's Territorial Cup the defense shined in the first half.
21 hours ago
Arizona State linebacker Merlin Robertson (8) intercepts a shuffle pass against Washington State of...
Jake Anderson

Reports: ASU senior LBs Darien Butler, Merlin Robertson out vs. Arizona

The Arizona State Sun Devils will once again not be at full strength for Saturday afternoon's Territorial Cup vs. the Arizona Wildcats.
21 hours ago
Rushing attacks of ASU and Oregon State to take center stage in Corvallis