Tempe, AZ— The Arizona State Sun Devils hosted the Washington State Cougars for their homecoming, what we can call the battle of the Jayden QBs, unfortunately ASU fizzled out in the first half of the contest. The Cougars’ defense played sound assignment football for four quarters.
In the first 4 minutes of the game, the Sun Devils had two fumbles, which Chau Smith-Wade (DB) intercepted the ball and took it to the house.
The Cougars (5 – 4, 4-2 Pac-12) dominated the first half of the game leading the Sun Devils (5 – 3, 3-2 Pac-12) 28-7 as they were the underdogs coming into this game. Even though ASU amassed 243 yards in the first half, they couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. For most of their drives, The Sun Devil offense just couldn’t cross the 50-yard line without turning the ball over.
WSU had five turnovers and seven penalties for 40 yards, they scored 24 points off the Sun Devil’s turnovers .
Daniels finally gave ASU a glimmer of hope in the waning seconds of the first half, throwing a 12-yard TD pass to receiver LV Bunkley-Shelton. That cut Washington State’s lead to 28-7.
Could the losses of Utah Utes and WSU seal the questionable deal for Herm Edwards future at ASU? The Sun Devils lost 35-21 after a 21-7 lead against the Utes, had a bye week, only to be crushed by Washington State in a 34-21 loss in Tempe.
The offense punched it in with the QB sneak. The second touchdown drive started with an 18-yard run by Deon McIntosh (RB) followed up with a 30-yard catch by wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr and capped off the drive with 28-yard TD pass to wide receiver Travell Harris.
“We gotta execute, we didn’t execute,” ASU head coach Edwards said. “When you don’t execute, and you turn the ball over, and you allow big plays, it’s very difficult to win. And that’s how the game turned out early, and we were playing catch up.”
The next two scores in the second quarter was nice dart for 17-yards to Harris to move the ball to midfield along with another 30-yard pass to Jackson Jr to get the Cougars to a 1st and goal on ASU 6-yard line. This didn’t stop McIntosh from finding his way to the end zone. Quarterback Jayden De Laura found Jackson Jr again taking it in for 45-yards for the Cougars final touchdown in the first half.
“We have to look at ourselves in the mirror right now,” quarterback Jayden Daniels said. “What type of season do we wanna have? The south is out of our control, but we’re still 5-3. A championship is not completely out of our reach.”
If we break down the Sun Devils drives it would look pretty horrid. The second play of the game linebacker Justus Rogers strips the ball on a screen and Amir Mujahid (DL) recovers the fumble. ASU defense held the Cougars to just 8-yards before getting the ball back. But less than two minutes later ASU fumbles again as Rogers returns it over at the ASU’s 20-yard line and it was down hill for the Sun Devils.
In the fourth quarter, the Sun Devils defense held the Cougars to two field goals – but they scored non the less as they increase their lead to 34-7 lead. ASU finally scored with 4:54 left on the clock to make the game look respectable.
During the post game interview Edwards was quoted by saying “It’s the players. It’s the players. There’s going to be no new offense. There’s going to be no new defense. We’re not revolutionizing anything. We got to execute. We didn’t execute.” Herm does believe in his players. He is consistently saying he has a resilient group of guys. So if that is the case, have they given up on themselves?
This game was so bad to watch that it prompted observers to wonder whether the players quit on the field against Utah and even against Washington State. It was devastating, horrific, disappointing, ugly, inexcusable, and most of all embarrassing.
What once looked like a green light for ASU to play in the Rose bowl has now sizzled down a bit. It’s hard to imagine Utah and UCLA losing enough games to give ASU a shot at the Pac-12 South title.
Arizona State hosts Southern California next Saturday.
WSU play No. 7 Oregon next Saturday