Game Preview: It's time for ASU football to secure bowl eligibility against OSU

The Beavers are only a few years removed from crushing the hopes of a CFB Playoff for the Sun Devils

A rough loss in Pasadena, California last weekend could come back to haunt ASU football (5-5, 4-3 Pac-12) if the Sun Devils unexpectedly lose to the Oregon State Beavers (1-9, 0-7 Pac-12). This is a Beavers team aiming to ditch their eight-game losing streak, and they will get the opportunity on senior day at home versus an inconsistent ASU team.

The good, the bad and the Beavers

The Sun Devils are desperately trying to keep their season afloat, needing just one more win to clinch bowl eligibility. However, ASU fans saw their team sitting pretty at 5-1 last season, again just one victory shy of a postseason game, while the Sun Devils finished 5-7. 

There is no question that it was a rough end to the year, but ASU can shed that monkey off its back if it captures a win against the worst team in the Pac-12.

OSU is exceptionally bad defensively.

As a unit, the Beavers have the fewest sacks (12) and allowed teams to throw for more touchdowns (24) than any other Pac-12 team. 

OSU has also allowed nine of its 10 opponents to score 30 or more points, with opposing teams averaging a conference high of 40.7 points a game. 

“They play like they never lost a game,” senior linebacker DJ Calhoun said. “And, if you watch the film, it’s kind of crazy, but you still got to respect every team. In general you just got to come play with your A game." 

Beavers bite back

The Beavers' response to their poor defense is not a high-powered offense. 

OSU is sporting the worst turnover margin of any team in the Pac-12 (-9) and has the fewest passing touchdowns in the conference (10).

However, do not get a false sense of security prior to this midday game in Corvallis, Oregon.

“(Demario Richard) told me that it’s very difficult to play up there,” freshman running back Eno Benjamin said. “They’ve never won up there, is what he’s told me – just the conditions, the time we’re playing and stuff like that, so you just got to be locked in and focused.”

The Sun Devils are 1-3 on the road this season, and ASU has yet to play in a game with Oregon's weather conditions.

It’s senior day for OSU, and what better time for the Beavers to break a losing streak than up against an ASU team that is historically mediocre in Corvallis?

In the last 20 years, the Sun Devils have won just two road games against OSU. 

Back at it again with the Beavers 

It seems as if everything is swinging in head coach Todd Graham’s favor. He has secured two statement wins versus the Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies. 

Both teams were ranked and in neither situation did the Sun Devils listen to the noise surrounding the future of the program.

However, the season is not over quite yet. 

ASU heads into this week’s game featuring a defense that has surrendered 61 plays of 20 or more yards, the most in the Pac-12. 

Not only that, but the Sun Devils have been in this position before. In 2016, the team failed to win just one more game with over a month left in the year. Back in 2014, the Beavers crushed CFB playoff hopes for the No. 6 Sun Devils. 

“It’s time now. That’s it. It’s time,” senior running back Demario Richard said. “They know what time it is. I know what time it is. Everybody who was here in 2014 knows what time it is.”

It is time for ASU to finish a season on a high note. A win this week against the team residing at the bottom of Pac-12 not only influences bowl game chances, but Graham's future with the team and the program itself. 

Predictions

The predictions below come from The State Press football reporters: Anthony Totri, Mark Harris and Joe Jacquez. The number next to the reporter is their record in predicting the winner each week.

Anthony Totri (3-7): ASU beats OSU 24-17

Mark Harris (4-6): ASU beats OSU 33-27

Joe Jacquez (4-6): ASU beats OSU 35-24


Reach the reporter at atotri@asu.edu or follow @Anthony_Totri on Twitter.   

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