Beavs squander hot start in loss to ASU
MIKE RILEY
MIKE RILEY

Posted Oct 2, 2011


THE FIRST QUARTER belonged to Oregon State, but the final three went to ASU, as the Sun Devils bulled their way to two touchdowns in the second half and No. 25 Arizona State overcame four turnovers to keep Oregon State winless with a 35-20 victory Saturday night.

Arizona State (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) had turnovers on its first three possessions to fall into a 13-0 hole before gathering itself in what oddsmakers expected, (OSU was an 18-point underdog) to be a rollover win.

OSU had five turnovers on the night.

ASU QB Brock Osweiler threw both of his touchdown passes after a shaky start and Jamal Miles had Arizona State's first punt return for a touchdown since 2005 to put the Sun Devils up eight at halftime.

Oregon State (0-4, 0-2) pulled within one on James Rodgers' 5-yard touchdown reception before fading, unable to tackle Marshall on touchdown runs of 37 and 8 yards.

Sean Mannion had 341 yards and a touchdown on 40-of-66 passing -- but had four interceptions to prolong the Beavers' worst start since 1996.

Osweiler finished 24 for 37 for 258 yards, but had four turnovers - two on interceptions by Jordan Poyer in the first half - and was sacked four times, most notably by Rusty Fernando.

Arizona State was hoping to avoid another letdown after a big win. The initial disappointment came Sept. 17, when the Sun Devils lost an ugly game to unranked Illinois after an impressive win over then-No. 21 Missouri the week before.

Arizona State dropped out of the rankings after that loss, following it up with a resounding win over Southern California to end an 11-game losing streak to the Trojans.

Riding a new wave of momentum, the Sun Devils hoped they had learned a lesson and wouldn't do it again against an 18-point underdog beset by injuries and inconsistency.

It didn't seem to sink in right away.

Osweiler was picked off by Poyer on the Sun Devils' first drive on a fantastic full extension grab, then lost a fumble scrambling from pressure on the second. Arizona State's defense did its best to make up for the two miscues, holding Oregon State to field goals of 34 and 21 yards by Trevor Romaine.

And that turned out to be key, OSU coming away with field goals instead of touchdowns.

The Sun Devils couldn't stop Oregon State after Poyer came up with his second pick; Terron Ward found the end zone for the Beavs and turned it into a 13-0 Oregon State lead by breaking three tackles on his way to a 10-yard touchdown run.

Arizona State finally found some life early in the second quarter, with Osweiler hitting A.J. Pickens for his first career TD, a 17-yarder on a crossing route that cut Oregon State's lead to 13-7.

Osweiler then hit Gerell Robinson on a 24-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter. It signified the turning point of the game, as the drive that started with Poyer's muffed punt and included a fumble by Marshall that was overturned by video review.

Miles followed with a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown, juking two defenders at the point of contact before bursting up the middle to put Arizona State up 21-13 at halftime.

Still, seemingly in control, the Sun Devils still weren't done with the mistakes.

Osweiler opened the second half by throwing into triple coverage and Oregon State's Anthony Watkins snatched it, returning the interception 40 yards to Arizona State's 11. Mannion threw on the run to hit Rodgers on a five-yard touchdown pass that pulled the Beavers to 21-20.

That was it for the Beavers, though.

ASU's Marshall answered with a wrecking-ball touchdown, bouncing off at least five tacklers on the way to a 37-yard score. He bulled through Oregon State's defense again on the next drive, scoring from 8 yards out to make it 35-20.


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