Sun Devils cool off in second half vs. Oklahoma State

Sep 10, 2023, 12:19 AM | Updated: Sep 11, 2023, 8:35 am

TEMPE — The Arizona State Sun Devils were defeated 27-15 by the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday in blistering heat at Mountain America Stadium.

Head coach Kenny Dillingham and quarterback Jaden Rashada had the offense firing on all cylinders in 104 degree heat in the first half against a formidable Cowboys defense.

The highlight of the first half came on broken coverage when Rashada found star receiver Elijhah Badger for a 65-yard score. The Sun Devils went for two after an offsides penalty and took an eight-point lead early in the second quarter.

Badger finished the contest with three catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.

The problem was, this was the last points ASU would put on the board all night, putting up a goose egg offensively in the second half.

ASU has now scored just three second-half points in two games against Southern Utah and OSU.

“Other than them backing up their ‘monster’ safety to take away the shot, there wasn’t a change in their schematic plan,” Dillingham said Saturday.

“They run what they run, they do what they do and he declares where he is going to be early and they stayed true to that. I think we need to be able to run the ball better in the second half. That is pretty much it, we just are not establishing drives.”

Dillingham simply attributed the loss to the inability to stop the Cowboys’ run game as well as the Sun Devils’ offensive miscues that put the defense on the field for a majority of the second half.

Offensively, Rashada looked like a seasoned veteran in the first half, staying in the pocket when needed to deliver strikes to open receivers while also running at opportune times (Five rushes on the night).

In the second half under the face of immense pressure and a score that started to creep away from the Sun Devils, all mojo was lost.

“I thought I could have done a way better job,” Rashada said. “Offense could have had the defense’s back more. We learn from it, but there are a lot of things I could have done better tonight. … Just keeping my eyes downfield and extending plays to make the job a lot harder on the defense.”

Rashada finished his second career collegiate start with 167 yards on 16-for-29 passing, one touchdown and his first career interception.

ASU faced three fourth-down scenarios (two within two yards) and fell flat on all three, including its last two possessions of the game, something Dillingham said he was looking for from pregame film.

The playcalling and team just could not come up with the right concoction to get the job done, even out of Wildcat formation.

After a three-and-out to begin the ballgame, ASU marched on an 11-play, 76-yard drive that was finished on a 13-yard run by running back Cameron Skattebo to open the scoring.

OSU marched back on the two possessions later after the Sun Devils had another three-and-out followed by a 30-yard punt, knotting the game at seven apiece.

OSU ran with its platoon system at quarterback and looked much more efficient with Gunnar Gundy, coach Mike Gundy’s son, and Garret Rangel at quarterback. Although, Alan Bowman took a lion’s share of the snaps under center for OSU.

The three QBs combined for 22-of-32 for 191 yards and two passing scores. The Cowboys also ran for 113 yards on 31 carries for one score.

“It’s not a loss, it’s a lesson,” defensive end B.J. Green said. “Just being consistently good, not sometimes great. There are great moments in there with everything we do.”

Green had a monster day for the defense, forcing two sacks, three tackles for loss and consistently showing face in the OSU backfield all night.

Next man up

ASU was without starting left tackle Isaiah Glass entering the game. Just two plays into its first offensive possession, right tackle Emmitt Bohle went down with an apparent leg injury.

Bohle was carted off in an air cast while almost every play on the Sun Devils gave their condolences.

The ASU line held up almost all night, giving Rashada enough time to find receivers and open up in the run game.

For the first three quarters of the game, fill-in right tackle Max Iheanachor was pleasantly giving Rashada time off the edge. In the fourth, it was as if the defenders were in the backfield when the ball hit the quarterback’s hands.

Dillingham did not give an update on either starting tackle but said their status is known for Week 3.

Up next

ASU will host Fresno State at Mountain America Stadium on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. looking to improve to 2-1 under Dillingham.

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