In a scorching hot Mountain America Stadium, just a few key plays stood between a massive win for Arizona State and the eventual 27-15 defeat to Oklahoma State.
Freshman Jaden Rashada started at quarterback for the Sun Devils this week and displayed his arm strength yet again by launching a 65-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Elijhah Badger around five minutes into the second quarter. However, the Sun Devil offense went ice cold in the second half, getting shut out in the final two quarters.
"I just learned that I got to deal with some things better, stay positive," Rashada said in a postgame press conference. "Just gather your teammates around, and you learn more from your losses than you do wins. Not complaining, but we'll learn from this and we'll come back better next week."
The most crucial play for the Sun Devils came early in the fourth quarter. Down just two points at the time, Rashada delivered a pass to redshirt junior wide receiver Xavier Guillory. He had nothing but open field in front of him, but could not hold onto the ball.
Fourth down conversions were also a problem for the Sun Devils, only converting one out of five tries. The conversions were made more difficult when right tackle Emmit Bohle left the game with a leg injury early in the game. Junior Max Iheanachor replaced him on the offensive line.
Junior running back Cam Skattebo followed up last week’s game with another solid offensive performance. He led the ASU offense in rushing yards Saturday, rushing for 62 yards and scoring the team's first touchdown on the night from a direct snap in wildcat formation.
Kenny Dillingham opted for the wildcat formation quite a few times Saturday night. ASU ran the formation in practice over the week plenty of time, as Dillingham said he saw an excellent chance to take advantage of Oklahoma State’s defensive tendencies.
"It worked really well early. We were in 14 personnel, and they showed to match 14 personnel and they did that early so we took advantage of some things," Dillingham said in a postgame press conference. "They kept their 3-3-5 on the field against 14 personnel and fourth and one’s were stopping the run, and that's something we can't have happen. We can’t be outmatched."
The Sun Devils played a cleaner game Saturday compared to their first game, collecting just four penalties for 30 yards.
The defense for ASU also had a solid game against all three quarterbacks Oklahoma State used throughout the game. Allowing 304 total yards, the Sun Devils accumulated three sacks, including two from junior defensive lineman B.J. Green.
"I wouldn't want my back against the wall with nobody else," Green said. "We built that bond with each other. Stuff like that happens, I trust everybody right next to me, I trust the guys behind to do what they gotta do."
Up next for Dillingham and the Sun Devils will be the Fresno State Bulldogs. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. PST next Saturday at Mountain America Stadium.
Edited by Vinny Deangelis, Alexis Waiss, Shane Brennan