ASU football can’t stop No. 23 Oregon State’s run game in loss on senior day, homecoming
TEMPE — The Arizona State Sun Devils’ defense could not stop a nosebleed in Saturday’s 31-7 loss to the No. 23 Oregon State Beavers.
ASU allowed 443 total yards of offense, 222 of which came on the ground on what was homecoming and senior day at Sun Devil Stadium.
“We played a very disappointing game in all phases. Our kids still played hard but it was disappointing on all sides,” Arizona State interim head coach Shaun Aguano said postgame. “From a defensive standpoint, we couldn’t stop them.
“From an offensive standpoint, we couldn’t get anything going then we had to play catchup. And then we missed a field goal and muffed a punt return, so it wasn’t good in all phases and was just a huge disappointment.”
The rushing yards tally is the third-most the Sun Devils have allowed this year behind UCLA (402) and Eastern Michigan (305).
In fact, exactly half of Arizona State’s losses this season have come when allowing 200+ rushing yards — all of which have come at home — with Utah’s 205 rushing yards in Tempe being the fourth.
Oregon State (8-3, 5-3 in Pac-12) managed to run all over ASU (3-8, 2-6) despite not having running back Deshaun Fenwick, who came into the game as the team’s co-leader with six touchdowns in addition to 393 rushing yards.
Instead, Beavers RB Damien Martinez ran for 139 yards and two TDs on 22 carries for a 6.3 average. OSU quarterback Ben Gulbranson added 47 rushing yards and a score on nine rushes (4.0 per). The QB also had one TD throw and 188 yards on 15 of 21 passing (71%).
As a team, Oregon State averaged 6.7 yards per play and 5.3 per rush while also generating 28 first downs in over 34 minutes of possession without turning the ball over.
The Beavers were also 5-for-11 (45%%) on third down and 1-for-1 on fourth down. OSU only punted twice all game, the second of which was muffed by ASU defensive back D.J. Taylor and led to an Oregon State field goal.
“We’re not following through on our tackles,” Aguano said. “We get them pinned up and they’re running right through our tackles and that’s not good.
“A couple of times we had them trapped in the backfield and they squared it out. From a fundamental standpoint, it’s just not tackling well and we have to go about and fix that.”
And following the Arizona Wildcats’ (4-7, 2-6) loss to the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, that means this year’s Territorial Cup battle will feature two non-bowl eligible teams.
“Now it’s all for pride and that’s huge,” Aguano said. “Both teams aren’t going to a bowl, so now it’s all about pride. They have something to prove and we have something to prove and make sure that we keep the cup here.
“Now it’s mano a mano and who’s going to be the best team, and we’re going to go down there and try our best and put out the best product that we can. We have five days and we have to get ready to go.”
But with it truly being just a one-game season for both schools now, upperclassmen playing in their final game for Arizona State and Aguano — who is trying to get the interim tag removed — will look to close out this turbulent campaign with the same record as their in-state rivals.
A 4-8 finish to the year would also prevent this ASU team from being one of the worst in program history.
“We gotta have our best week of practice, we have to have our best week of preparation,” ASU linebacker Kyle Soelle said postgame. “They’re a good team down there and if we don’t prepare right, we’ll get embarrassed. … I feel like that game every year means a lot to me, it means a lot to the local guys, it means a lot to this school, this program — anyone who’s a Sun Devil, it means a ton.
“All my eggs are in that basket next week, all my focus is into that next week,” he added. “I know the whole team is going to be the same way. We have to have our best week of preparation and we have to come ready to play and like I said, they’re a good team down south. If we don’t come prepared, they will embarrass us.”
The Sun Devils were once again without starting left guard LaDarius Henderson, who has now missed five straight games after injuring his finger against Washington on Oct. 8.
ASU travels to Tucson to take on Arizona in the Territorial Cup on Friday at 1 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.