ASU football lost to Washington State 34-21 at home Saturday, marking the first time the team has lost consecutive games this season.
The loss was defined by the sloppy play the Sun Devils have displayed much of the season. ASU, who is now 3-2 in Pac-12 play, committed five turnovers in the game, including losing two fumbles within its first three plays from scrimmage.
Coming into Saturday’s game, the Cougars had nine forced fumbles, tied for the third-most in the Football Subdivision.
Junior quarterback Jayden Daniels said the team harped on Washington State’s ability to force fumbles. Even with an extra week to prepare due to the teams’ bye week, the planning failed to meet the execution.
“We talked about it all week,” Daniels said. “Watching film you see that they’re ball-hungry and they’re going to go after the ball. It’s frustrating because we put the defense in a lot of bad positions. We can’t expect them to hold up for four quarters if we keep giving Washington State the ball.”
It was the most fumbles the team lost in a game in the Herm Edwards era at ASU, and the most turnovers it has had in a game since 2010.
Washington State scored touchdowns in four of its first six drives. The Sun Devils trailed the Cougars 28-0 in the second quarter before redshirt freshman wide receiver LV Bunkley-Shelton scored a 12-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left in the first half.
ASU failed to trim the deficit until it was too late, trailing by as many as 27 points in the second half. The Sun Devils scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the game to cut its deficit to 13 points.
“It became one of those games where all of a sudden we got behind,” Edwards said. “We were playing catch-up football. And that's always hard to do because it puts you in a position where you really can't control the tempo.”
Daniels completed 23-of-35 passes for 228 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Redshirt senior running back Rachaad White was inactive for the first time this season with injuries sustained in the game against Utah, according to Edwards.
White leads the team in rushing yards and has the second most receptions. Offensive coordinator Zak Hill didn’t make any excuses for White’s absence, saying the team needs to carry a next-man-up mentality.
“We have really good running backs,” Hill said. “Whether Rachaad is in or not, Chip (DeaMonte Trayanum) and Daniyel (Ngata) we expect those guys to play at a high level. During the course of a season, a guy goes down, somebody has to fill in, and you’ll have to handle it.”
Trayanum took most of the carries for ASU, finishing with a season-high 19 rushes for 89 yards.
The Sun Devils, who were previously 4-0 in home games this season, faced its largest halftime deficit at home since 2017 against USC.
Edwards added he thinks players may have gotten too comfortable playing at home.
“Our players maybe took this home venue for granted thinking that everything is supposed to work out," Edwards said. "Well, it doesn’t work out when you turn the football over and you drop balls and give up big plays in the passing game.”
ASU will look to bounce back from its second consecutive loss on Nov. 6 against USC at Sun Devil Stadium.
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