Arizona State Week 3 Recap: Loss in Missouri

ASU at Missouri.  The Sun Devils lose 24-20.

There’s not too much to say after ASU’s frustrating loss to Missouri on Saturday.  What can be said, however, is all about adversity: how the Devils handled it, and what they can learn.

Predictions that Mizzou was going to be the first team to give ASU a run for its money were confirmed.  Even with the loss of starter James Franklin to a shoulder injury, Missouri was strong from the start.  And ASU was left looking out-gunned and under-prepared, as their confidence seemed shaken (or maybe gone) as they faced their first struggle of the season.

And oh what a struggle it was: the two-quarterback system (Kelly and Eubank) was ineffective, the receivers weren’t on their game, and a team that had been relatively penalty-free committed seven.  The first two quarters looked like a vintage ASU road game: full of inconsistency and avoidable errors.  But, however Todd Graham utilized halftime, it had a noticeable (albeit insufficient) effect.  The Devils came out and put up more of a fight, but it wasn’t enough to topple Mizzou.  The gritty details of the game can be found here.

Were it not for an astonishing victory maneuvered by the AZ Cardinals against the New England Patriots at home, the Sun Devil loss would be getting considerably more attention today.  Conversations have consisted of “can you believe the ASU game?” before moving on to “how amazing was the Cardinals game yesterday?”  While the fans may not be talking, no doubt the coaches and team will be.  Utah comes into town on Saturday, and the Sun Devils are back to having something to prove.  Will they be able to overcome their failures in the Zou?  If yes, they can regain status as a quality team.  If not, Sun Devil fans will go back to lamenting the unfulfilled promises and unmet potential of what should’ve been “our year.”  Adversity and a game like last Saturday’s can make or break teams, and everyone is waiting to see how the Devils will respond.

Arizona State punter Josh Hubner watches as the ball sails past on a punt-attempt during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)