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Mistakes doom ASU football in loss to Oregon State

Penalties and a lack of execution once again plagued the Sun Devils, who fell to 7-4 on the season

herm edwards out head coach

Former ASU head football coach Herm Edwards scratches his head after a play during ASU's game against Washington State in Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. ASU lost 34-21.

ASU football's slim hopes of reaching the Pac-12 Championship evaporated after No. 23 Utah defeated No. 3 Oregon shortly after the Sun Devils' kickoff at Corvallis, Oregon.

The disappointment of losing the sliver of hope was driven further down after ASU lost 24-10 to Oregon State on Saturday night, continuing the Sun Devils' rollercoaster of a season.

ASU fell behind 17-0 in the second quarter after Oregon State scored points on three consecutive drives. The team had two opportunities to put first-half points on the board by way of field goals, but both attempts — a 32-yarder and a 49-yarder — were kicked wide left.

The Sun Devils only had two drives that went 50 or more yards, both of which resulted in a combined three points. Their only touchdown of the game came on a four-yard drive after Oregon State redshirt junior punter Luke Loecher fumbled a snap that ASU recovered on Oregon State's 4-yard-line.

Penalties stemming from undisciplined play, a common theme for the Sun Devils throughout the season, proved again to be an issue against the Beavers.

The team committed 10 penalties, the fourth time this season it committed double-digit penalties in a game. Seven of those 10 penalties were false starts.

Oregon State, much like Washington in ASU's previous game, would shift its defensive line before the ball was snapped. That movement led to a handful of yellow flags and the demise of some drives.

"Last week when you look at Washington they did the same thing," head coach Herm Edwards said. "It wasn't really a factor, but then all of a sudden you get here and it becomes a factor. Every time they went out on the field, I reminded them of it. The bottom line is you can't move."

Two of those false starts happened consecutively on ASU's final drive of the game. The two penalties turned a third-and-7 into a third-and-17, and the next two plays resulted in a sack and an incomplete pass.

Offensive coordinator Zak Hill said the team used a silent count through the majority of the game. The combination of pre-snap movement from Oregon State and troubles with the silent count led to the troublesome trend of false start penalties.

"The last two games the defenses have done a really good job with their pre-snap movement, and tonight, we didn't handle it well upfront," Hill said. "It's not easy when they're jumping and moving and we're using a silent count but at the end of the day we’ve got to handle it better."

For the second consecutive week, redshirt senior running back Rachaad White led the team in receptions and rushing attempts. In the first quarter alone, White accounted for 73 of the team's 86 total yards. 

With injuries to tight ends Curtis Hodges and Jalin Conyers, along with wide receivers Andre Johnson and Johnny Wilson, ASU turned to White in excess again, but to limited success.

"Between the run game and the pass game we couldn't get either of them going," Hill said. "It always limits you when you're missing two tight ends, but we couldn't get into a rhythm. We did get some opportunities to score points but we came up short."

Hodges and Conyers did not travel with the team after sustaining injuries related to a car accident near the team's practice facility on Thursday, according to Sun Devil Source.

But the next-man-up mantra that has become associated with the team throughout the season was preached before the game. 

"It (the injuries) really doesn't have much of a factor on the game at all," graduate student defensive end Tyler Johnson said. "Guys are expected to step up. Whether that's second string, third string, whatever. We practice together, go over film together and everyone on this team is coached the same. Whether you're a freshman or a starter, you're coached the same."

ASU returns home next week for its final game of the regular season against UA on Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. MST. The Sun Devils have won the past four Territorial Cup games, and haven't lost a Territorial Cup game at home since 2011.

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Sean Lynch

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