On a night when it poured from the beginning of pregame warmups through the game and well into the night, one would assume it would be impossible to burn anything.
However, Arizona State still managed to burn the Oregon State defense to the ground. The Sun Devils hit big play after big play after big play on their way to 514 total yards, including 375 rushing, and a 46-33 win.
For their own part, the Beavers rolled up some numbers as well, 474 total yards, 250 on the ground. But multiple turnovers, multiple messed up punts, and too many trick plays that backfired more than overcame some offensive creativity, and yet another 100 yard rushing game by Jermar Jefferson.
Big plays, often as a result of a defense that didn’t account for Arizona State primary threats, were a real big problem as well, as Oregon State gave up touchdown plays of 64, 53, 55, & 29 yards in length.
Oregon State was playing shorthanded on both sides of the ball, with WR/KR Champ Flemmings out, WR Kolby Taylor medically retired, WR/KR Trevon Bradford a game time scratch, both Nahshon & Rejzohn Wright out at CB, and LB Avery Roberts all missing. It got worse quickly when TE Luke Musgrave went out early with a rib injury, RB BJ Baylor suffered an ankle injury in the 2nd quarter that put him on crutches, and LB Hamilcar Rasheed Jr also went out with an ankle injury before the end of the 3rd quarter.
Arizona State was relatively healthy, with WR Frank Darby, who opted out of the game, their only significant missing major contributor. The Sun Devils entered the game as 7 point favorites.
Nevertheless, the Beavers started well, with a Chance Nolan to Tyjon Lindsey 12 yard touchdown pass for the first score of the game.
However, the Darkness Devils answered with 4 consecutive touchdowns, taking a 26-7 lead by midway in the 2nd quarter.
Oregon State essentially traded touchdowns with Arizona State the rest of the way, but that never closed the deficit significantly.
The real killers were uncontested 3rd quarter touchdown runs by Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels and running back Rachaad White that covered 53 & 55 yards.
Daniels, above, only threw for 139 yards, and 1 touchdown, the 64 yard shot to Geordon Porter, who blew by single high coverage after a Beaver slipped, but also ran for 83 yards and 2 scores.
White ran for a game high 158 yards and 2 touchdowns, on just 13 carries.
Nolan threw for only 114 yards, but 2 touchdowns, but also ran for 60 yards, in the dual of dual threat quarterbacks.
Jefferson, above, needed 24 carries to grind out 103 yards.
Lindsey also had a completion, on a trick play on a 4th down, where he took the snap through Nolan’s legs, and connected with Tegan Quitoriano for 46 yards, setting up a 24 yard Nolan touchdown throw on a post route that split Arizona State coverage to Tre’Shaun Harrison on the next play, which pulled Oregon State within 40-27 late in the 3rd quarter.
Ben Gulbranson got the last drive of the game for the Beavers, and completed a half-dozen passes for 64 yards, including a 16 yard touchdown toss to Zeriah Beeson, on literally the last play of the college football regular season.
Oregon State even routinely got key plays from Jack Colletto, above, who ran for 3 first downs and 2 touchdowns on short yardage situations, and also picked up a 2 point conversion.
However, Oregon State tried and failed on 2 other 2 point conversion attempts, resulting in a net loss over kicking extra points.
Special teams were an issue, as the Beavers had a punt blocked after a bad snap, had a wet ball go through a players hands on a direct snap to one of the punt protectors, and also had an on-side kick be recovered by the Devils.
“We were going to error on the side of being aggressive,” Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith said.
On balance, it was an error. Both the punting game misfires led directly to Arizona State touchdowns, in a game Oregon State lost by 2 touchdowns.
The game was the 5th home game for the Beavers, who were the 4 seen in the Pac-12 North, after the first 6 games, in an abbreviated 7 game season, whereas the Sun Devils, the 5th seed in the South, only played 1 home game in their season that was limited to just 4 contests, due to multiple games being cancelled due to Covid-19 testing and tracing.
Arizona State improved to 2-2, and will now consider whether they want to accept a bowl bid. The Sun Devils will be only the 3rd Pac-12 team to make it to a bowl if they choose to, joining Conference Champion Oregon and Colorado, after Washington, Stanford, USC, & Utah all opted out of participating over Covid concerns.
Update: Arizona opted out of a bowl game postgame.
Oregon State finished on a 3 game losing streak, and ended a disappointing 2-5, their 7th consecutive losing season, and 9th in 11 years, a setback after a 5-7 campaign in 2019. The Beavers made progress offensively, and though they started and ended the season with double digit losses, were in 1 score games in the middle 5. But the defense regressed, especially against any team with a semblance of a competent rushing attack, and something significantly different will have to be done before a satisfactory season is to finally occur.
(OSU photos via O-Live)