The stellar play against quality opponents at home continued on Saturday night as the Arizona State Sun Devils knocked off the Oregon State Beavers 30-17.
The Sun Devils bursted out to a 20-0 lead in the first half due in large part to Marion Grice’s 71 rushing yards (118 total for the game) and two touchdowns (now 20 for the season) as well as two interceptions of OSU quarterback Sean Mannion made by Damarious Randall and Robert Nelson. Nelson in particular continues stellar play in 2013, especially of late. He has five interceptions in his last five games, two were against the Beavers and has six total for the season.
“That was probably Robert’s best game,” said ASU head coach Todd Graham. “He’s been clutch for us. When he see’s the ball come out of the quarterback’s hand he is very gifted…He’s been invaluable…I thought he was the MVP tonight and did phenomenal.”
“I want to give credit to the d-line and everyone on the defense,” added Nelson. “Without them it couldn’t happen…The credit goes to our team.”
The Beavers did fight back and had a chance to cut the Sun Devils lead to just seven late in the third, but Davon Coleman blocked an Oregon State field goal attempt and the Sun Devils never looked back from there.
Now, with the Sun Devils riding their first five game winning streak since 2007, they are in a position to do some things that the program has not done in quite some time. Play for a shot at the Rose Bowl. Ironically, the game to seal a spot in the Pac-12 Championship game will be played in the Rose Bowl next Saturday against UCLA.
“It’s a big game,” Graham said. “I’m gonna tell it like it is man. Everything we’ve worked for is in this 60 minutes this week. So, it ain’t just any game…I know I am excited. I am ready to get to work on them.”
“It’s huge for us,” mentioned quarterback Taylor Kelly who had 183 yards passing in the win against Oregon State. “We have all come together as a group, we all believe in each other and our camaraderie is as high as ever right now.”
One negative to take away from the game was Devil backer Carl Bradford was benched in the fourth quarter, ASU sources after the game told ASUDevils.com Publisher Sports360AZ contributor Chris Karpman that this situation arose from an altercation between Bradford and Will Sutton. Bradford then had to be restrained away from Coach Graham and the other players as a result. Todd Graham would not comment on the matter after the game.
The exact scenario from here is, if ASU beats UCLA, they are in the Pac-12 championship game. They are not out of it if they lose because if ASU takes care of business against the Arizona Wildcats and USC knocks off UCLA the final week of the season, ASU can still get into the game. Furthermore, if ASU wins out and Oregon manages to lose one of it’s final two games (vs. Arizona and Oregon State), ASU could host the Pac-12 Championship game at Sun Devil Stadium where they have been dominant this season.