ASU sure had the Beavs number there for the first quarter and into the early moments of the second, but one has to be impressed with the adjustments OSU made as the game progressed, especially impressive was the third quarter and the adjustments made at halftime on the offensive side of things.
The Sun Devils seemed to have a winning game plan with keeping both sides of the OSU lines off balance with up tempo play and a strong pass rush attack. ASU scored nine points with their defense, a fumble recovery TD and safety off a blocked punt, all of which made it look like it could be a long night for the Beavs. But the Oregon State defense really turned a corner in the second quarter and started to put their own pressure on ASU QB Taylor Kelly, and ended up holding the ASU offense to only 153 yards passing (a good number of these yards came on the last ASU drive of the game). And of note Sean Martin at CB was excellent filling in for the injured Jordan Poyer.
With this support of the defensive swagger the OSU offense then found a rhythm. Back up RB Terron Ward had a career game with 146 yards, which included a very big 53 yard TD run to close the gap to three points in the second quarter. Cody Vaz (14-33 for 267 yards) also had a nice night, and even if not spectacular did find both Marcus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks for two important TDs helping the Beavs separate themselves from an aggressive ASU team.
The game's score and stats in many ways ended up a bit closer than really what happened on the field in the second half. OSU ended with 424 total yards and ASU with 303, but really OSU completely controlled the game in the second half and after Trevor Romaine kicked through a 33-yard field goal at the 3:14 mark in the third quarter to put OSU up by ten points one had the feeling the game was in full control. Additionally ASU scored in the first minute on a fumble recovery, had a punt block safety, and also a fairly meaningless last moments TD drive all which allowed them to keep the final score to ten points.
For OSU though it was a nice bounce back game from last week's very flat offensive performance against UW. There were a few big plays tonight, which was very nice but at the same time the best part is that it just felt more like the Beavs got back to their steady stride that has been a hallmark for the successes this season so far.
The 7 and 1 Beavs go on the road to play Stanford next week in what will be a very important game for both programs.