Preview Week 10… ASU: The Devils Head North to Corvallis

ASU (5-3, 3-2 Pac-12) takes on the #11 Oregon State Beavers (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12) on Saturday night in Reser Stadium in Corvallis, OR.  The game starts at 10:30 PM ET on ESPN2.

Based on recent events on the East coast, it seems fitting to start off the ASU/OSU conversation by talking about the weather forecast for Saturday in Corvallis: a high of 62 degrees with a 40% chance of rain.  For a brief moment, let’s pretend everything else is equal: the weather alone is going to present a challenge to the Devils, who are accustomed to higher temps and drier climes.  Coming back to reality shows that the weather might be the least of ASU’s worries.

The worries: it’s a road game, the defense could potentially be missing three starters, and Oregon State is good.  Really good.  While quarterback Taylor Kelly played well in last week’s loss, the team as a whole committed too many mistakes which can’t be repeated in Corvallis.

The positives: if the three defensive starters return, there’s a much greater likelihood of putting a stop to Cody Vaz (who’ll be leading the OSU offense after Sean Mannion threw four interceptions in last week’s game).  Taylor Kelly has also shown grace under pressure, which could suit him well against the Beavers’ defense.  Oregon State is also coming off their first loss of the season (to Washington) and with the change in QB from Sean Mannion to Cody Vaz, they could be slow to regain their tempo.  At least that’s what ASU is hoping.

The fans: bars will be crowded in Tempe as fans watch the action on TV.  Past ASU vs OSU games, when hosted in Sun Devil Stadium, have been notable for the signs that the houses on the now-nonexistent frat row displayed (RIP frat humor in the shadow of Sun Devil Stadium).  There are quite a few people wearing gold on campus today, as is the tradition for Fridays, but people are more hoping for an upset than thinking the Devils are able to win.  Especially with the weather factor.

Stakes are high for both teams in Reser Stadium on Saturday night: ASU’s ability to stay high in the Pac-12 South hinges on the outcome of this game, and so does their confidence level and momentum going into the end of the season (where USC and Arizona loom).  Oregon State is also playing to remain relevant in the Pac-12 North, and to gain a BCS bowl bid.  Rain or shine in Corvallis on Saturday night, it’s going to be some season-changing football for each team.

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