Arizona State needs to win one of its tworemaining games to become bowl eligible. The first – and clearly best – shot forthe Sun Devils will be Saturday afternoon when they visit 1-9 Oregon State.
Last Saturday night in Los Angeles, Arizona Statefell short in a 44-37 shootout versus UCLA to fall to .500 and now needs tobeat either the Beavers or rival Arizona (7-3) the following Saturday to becomepostseason eligible for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. A win alsowould at least clinch a .500 regular-season record for the seventh time in thelast eight years for the Sun Devils – a stretch that would be the program’slongest since an eight-in-nine-year run from 1985-93. Oregon State, meanwhile,wrapped up its fourth straight losing season more than a month ago and now istrying to avoid a second winless Pac-12 campaign in the last three years. Saturday’sgame will mark the home finale/Senior Day for the Beavers, who close out theseason Nov. 25 with their annual Civil War tussle with Oregon in Eugene.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: ArizonaState -7
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (5-5, 4-3 Pac-12): The SunDevils had won three of four entering the UCLA game but fell short against theBruins despite racking up advantages in total (584-573) and rushing yards(294-192). Running back Demario Richard and quarterback Manny Wilkins havecombined for 936 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns over the last twogames, and as a team Arizona State has accounted for a whopping 41 percent(675) of its 1,646 season rushing yards in the last two contests. Junior linebackerChristian Sam has a conference-most 104 total tackles to lead a defense whichranks in the Pac-12’s bottom third in scoring (32.1 points allowed per game)and total defense (455.0 yards).
ABOUT OREGON STATE (1-9, 0-7): Last week againsthost Arizona, the Beavers became the latest defense to be gashed on the ground byquarterback/darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate Khalil Tate and the Wildcats,who rushed for a for a school single-game-record 534 yards in a 49-28 win. Down28-0 at halftime, Oregon State at least showed some second-half fight underinterim coach Cory Hall as Darell Garretson tossed four TD passes in the final30 minutes and running back Ryan Nall totaled 135 yards from scrimmage. On theother side of the ball, linebacker Manase Hungalu trails only Sam in theconference with 8.7 tackles per outing and is one of the few bright spots for aunit which is surrendering the most points (40.7) and second-most yards (464.7)in the Pac-12.
1. Arizona State leads the series 27-13-1 but is7-9-1 in Corvallis and has lost five straight there.
2. The Sun Devils own the second-best red-zonescoring percentage (97.3) in the FBS, and their lone scoreless possession was agame-ending kneel-down in their 13-7 upset win over visiting Washington on Oct.14.
3. Oregon State owns a Pac-12-worst minus-9turnover margin while Arizona State is tied for third at plus-4.
PREDICTION: Arizona State 38, Oregon State 35