ASU seniors recall 2014 road loss to Oregon State

ASU football has a chance to redeem itself this Saturday

Nov. 15, 2014 is a dark day for ASU football fans and players alike.

On that day, the Sun Devils traveled to Corvallis to face the Oregon State Beavers (4-5). 

ASU was on a roll after winning five games in a row, beating ranked opponents Utah and Notre Dame in the previous two weeks. 

But the ASU hype train came to a screeching halt that chilly night in the Willamette Valley. 

The Sun Devils lost to the Beavers 35-27, and from there it seemed like their season never recovered.

And the seniors on this year's team have not forgotten about it. 

"Man, I mean for the guys who were there, it's motivation," senior defensive lineman Tashon Smallwood said. "That time was rough — that really brought our season (down). Being sixth in the nation, losing to Oregon State and then going and losing to Arizona, it messed up our chances of winning the Pac-12 South. We could have won one of those two games and we would have won the South."

That loss gave ASU a 8-2 record, and effectively ended its chances of advancing to the College Football Playoff, which to this point has been reserved for the four best teams in the country with one loss or less. 

The Sun Devils still controlled their own destiny when it came to winning the Pac-12, however. All they had to do was win their final two games against Washington State (which they did) and Arizona (which they did not). 

But who knows, maybe if ASU had won against OSU, its season could have ended better.

"I remember, it was the first year of the Playoff ... I remember, 'Man, we would have made history,'" Smallwood said. "I believe if we had won the Oregon State game, we would have beat Arizona."

We will never know exactly what would have transpired if the Sun Devils came out on top, but it sure felt like ASU let an opportunity slip away.

"The look in the locker room was bad, guys knew it, being sixth in the nation," Smallwood said.

The game itself was played in temperatures much colder than the forgiving mid-autumn weather of Tempe.

"All I remember is that it was cold as hell. I had never played in anything like that and it was just — you could just feel the environment," senior linebacker DJ Calhoun said. "I was like, 'Damn, this is different,' and you know, when they came out ... it was kind of intimidating for a second."

Even though the game was played in freezing conditions, the Sun Devils still managed a 24-14 halftime lead.

"But I thought we were going to win," Calhoun said. "We were up, probably got a little cocky or whatever, but they ended up making some good plays."

Arguably the best play of the night came from OSU then-redshirt senior linebacker Michael Doctor, who clinched the upset with a pick-six late in the fourth quarter. 

Saturday's matchup will be completely different. Both teams are much worse than their 2014 form, with ASU desperate to secure bowl eligibility at 5-5, and OSU at the cellar of the Pac-12 with a 1-9 record.

And while the memories 2014 Oregon State game hurt, the Sun Devils still need a sixth win to get to a bowl game.

"Our guys are focused on getting the next win, getting bowl eligible," head coach Todd Graham said.


Reach the reporter at mpharri7@asu.edu or follow @Harris_Mark7 on Twitter.

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