Arizona State beats Oregon St.: Rapid Reaction – Tucson Citizen
The Arizona State Sun Devils (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) continued their home dominance on Saturday, beating the Oregon State Beavers by a score of 30-17 to remain unbeaten at home. It was an effort in which the Sun Devils’ offense (17th in the nation in total offense entering the game) struggled at times and defense reigned supreme. The Sun Devils remain in control of their own destiny in the Pac-12 South, and look forward to a season-defining game against No. 13 UCLA, who defeated Washington by a score of 41-31 Friday night. The Sun Devils are on a five game winning streak, their highest since 2007.
The Sun Devils managed to win Saturday night despite two first quarter interceptions thrown by quarterback Taylor Kelly, both of which halted promising drives. This marked just the third multi-interception game of the season for the redshirt junior, the other two coming in ASU’s only two losses (Stanford and Notre Dame). Kelly finished his night 22-37 for 183 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions. It was just Kelly’s second game of the season in which he has not had a passing touchdown, and Kelly had a passing touchdown in 20 of his first 22 starts. Arizona State managed “just” 30 points, their lowest home total of the season.
In return, the Sun Devils were opportunistic from the start, forcing four interceptions on passes by Oregon St. quarterback Sean Mannion. Robert Nelson Jr., one of three Sun Devils to pick up interceptions, also recovered a muffed Oregon St. punt to give Arizona State five takeaways on the evening. Nelson finished with three takeaways in the game, with his second interception being returned for a touchdown to seal the game for the Sun Devils. The Sun Devils managed to “hold” the nation’s second leading passing attack (404.8 YPG) to 320 yards, and kept Brandin Cooks without a touchdown (although he had 99 yards on nine catches).
The Price is Grice
After being held scoreless the last two games, running back Marion Grice returned to the endzone Saturday night with two scores against the Beavers. Grice was impressive all night, getting 71 yards on the ground on 11 carries in just the first half and finishing with 118 yards on 24 carries. Grice also became just the third Sun Devil in history to score over 20 touchdowns in a single season, and has 14 touchdowns on the ground this season. D.J. Foster also got back into the mix, scoring his first rushing touchdown on the season and finishing with20 yards on four carries and four catches for 13 yards.
Coming back Strong
Wide receiver Jaelen Strong looked the best he has in weeks Saturday night, looking free of nagging injuries and putting up a dominant performance. Strong had six catches for 93 yards in the first half alone, and finished the night with 106 yards on seven catches. The Sun Devils also saw a strong performance from Richard Smith, who had 26 yards on seven carries in what was a quiet night for Kevin Ozier and Chris Coyle.
With Stanford’s 20-17 loss against USC, the Pac-12 picture was shaken up yet again. As it currently stands, if Arizona St. and Oregon win out, it will the Sun Devils traveling to Eugene for the Pac-12 title. Oregon travels to Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats next week before hosting Oregon St. in the “Civil War” game to end the season, while Arizona St. travels to play No. 13 UCLA in Pasadena before hosting Arizona in the “Territorial Cup”. However, if Oregon loses one of those games and the Sun Devils win out, it will be Arizona St. hosting Stanford for the Pac-12 Championship.
The No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) travel to Pasadena to play the No. 13 UCLA Bruins (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) on Saturday, Nov. 23rd. Arizona St. currently leads the Bruins by one game in the Pac-12 South standings, and the game looks to be a de-facto Pac-12 South title game.
Reach the reporter at [email protected] or via Twitter @fardaya15. Make sure to follow TC Arizona Sports on Twitter @TCSportsAZ.
This entry was posted on Saturday, November 16th, 2013 at 11:30 pm and is filed under Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona State Sun Devils, College Football. Tags for this post: Brandin Cooks, Chris Coyle, D.J. Foster, Jaelen Strong, Kevin Ozier, Marion Grice, Sean Mannion, Taylor Kelly. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.