First things first: The Beavers’ 35-27 upset of then-No. 6 Arizona State at Reser Stadium was one of the biggest shockers of the college football season. It also was a much needed win for OSU, which snapped a five game losing streak.
The Beavers started off strong, only to see ASU roar back and seemingly take control of the game. But OSU held strong, made plays on offense when it counted — and the defense came up big to seal the win. It was complete effort that the Beavers had been searching for all season.
I’m so happy that record-setting Sean Mannion finally got that signature win, that Storm Woods and Terron Ward busted off long runs showcasing their speed, that the o-line played tough and nasty, that the linebackers flew around making plays, that Steven Nelson shut down Jaelen Strong, etc. The players played their hearts out and were rewarded big time.
And I am really thankful that after ASU scored 21 unanswered points to take a 24-14 lead into halftime, that the OSU coaches didn’t panic. Instead, Riles and Co. made some superb adjustments. Major props to much-maligned defensive coordinator Mark Banker, whose unit held a potent Sun Devils offense to three points and less than 100 yards in the second half.
However… Will the ASU game be a “one shining moment” type of deal for the OSU coaching staff? Or can they build off this game and and finish the season strong?
By continuing to make adjustments and tweaks, and finding success with them, it sets up the staff to have a productive off season. Because even if there’s turnover among the staff, changes in philosophy and scheme are needed.
It would be deflating if the Beavers go to Seattle this weekend and lay an egg — it would totally mar the ASU win. It would be a giant step back and serve as further proof that the OSU coaching staff struggles with making strong changes.
So it will be interesting how the team comes out to play the Huskies, who are in the midst of an up and down season, and are coming off a tough last-second loss to Arizona. It would be great if the Beavers are aggressive from the start, and never look back. UW, right now, is the type of team that OSU can run away from…
But it will be up to the coaching staff to once again draw up a good game plan, put their players in positions to succeed, stick with what works, change up what isn’t, and coach with a sense of urgency. If they can do that, the Beavers have an excellent chance to beat UW and gain a lot of momentum heading into the Civil War.
Let’s hope the ASU game was a sign of better things to come for OSU, the coaches, and the players. Go Beavs! (RW)