The Sun Devils dropped their fourth straight game Saturday in a heartbreaking 35-34 loss to the Oregon State Beavers.
ASU trailed throughout the contest, attempting to recover from a poor showing in the matchup’s early minutes. Their comeback efforts were ultimately unsuccessful as a failed two-point conversion attempt in the game’s final seconds sealed ASU's fate.
Defensively, it allowed an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on Oregon State’s opening possession. Yet, unlike the Sun Devils' defeat last week at the hands of the USC Trojans, ASU responded with a scoring drive of its own.
A running game that has been mostly dormant the past few weeks finally came to life, with junior running back Eno Benjamin punching in the Sun Devils' first score of the game midway through the first quarter. The offensive onslaught continued well into the second quarter. Five of the game’s first seven drives resulted in touchdowns, with OSU jumping out to a 21-14 lead.
It appeared ASU had snatched back the momentum when, at the 4:01 mark, senior wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk returned a punt for a touchdown to tie the game at 21. But the Beavers tacked on their fourth touchdown of the day late in the second quarter to enter halftime leading 28-21.
The third quarter was defined by the defenses, as both units were able to force their first turnovers of the evening. However, only Oregon State was able to capitalize, increasing its point total to 35 after engineering a touchdown drive following a fumble from ASU freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels.
The ASU offense responded swiftly following the score, keeping the deficit at seven as the fourth quarter began.
The staunch defensive play continued into the fourth quarter, with neither unit surrendering a single point up until the game’s final minutes. That was when ASU marched down the field on an 11-play, 90-yard drive that ended in Daniels's third touchdown of the game, a 12-yard pass to Aiyuk with 1:40 remaining.
Now only trailing by one point, ASU sent the offense back out to the field to attempt a two-point conversion. Head coach Herm Edwards' bold decision was ultimately unsuccessful, as Benjamin was initially stuffed on a pitch play and intercepted on a pass attempt to end the Sun Devils' comeback bid.
ASU will look to return to its winning ways next Saturday Nov. 23 when it will host the sixth-ranked Oregon Ducks. Now 5-5, the Sun Devils only have two more chances to claim bowl eligibility as they work to remain competitive in the Pac-12 South.