Arizona State Week 8 Recap: Oregon…Oh, the horror

ASU (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) fell to Oregon (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) 43-21 last night at Sun Devil Stadium.

Halloween came early to Tempe this year.  And by that I mean the terror experienced by Sun Devil fans as we watched Oregon take it to the house.  Again, and again, and again.  The game started off well enough, as Will Sutton forced an Oregon fumble and Davon Coleman ran it back for a Sun Devil touchdown.  That would be the last play that Will Sutton would see in the game, however, as he sustained a knee injury that would sideline him for the rest of the game (if not the season, he’s having an MRI today).  Within the next ten minutes, ASU would lose Junior Onyeali to a shoulder injury he sustained while tackling Oregon’s freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota (let’s just say playing his first road game caused him no problems).  Ten minutes, two injuries, and it’s all downhill from there.

Taylor Kelly struggled mightily, making uncharacteristically bad decisions considering his performance so far this season.  It’s understandable against a team of Oregon’s caliber, where a quarterback is trying to force plays for the sake of gaining anything to keep some parity on the scoreboard.  Up to this point, ASU hasn’t allowed an opponent to score more than 24 points a game…by halftime last night, Oregon had racked up 43 points.  And they subsequently rested their starters, which makes the 0 points allowed by ASU in the second half less of an accomplishment.   For Sun Devil fans who are gluttons for punishment, a full game summary can be found here.

By the end of the first quarter, the game had devolved from a ‘make or break’ opportunity for the Sun Devil season into the ‘been there, done there’ feeling that I’ve opined about in past posts.  While the 60 minutes of the game don’t drop the guillotine on the season just yet (losing to the #3 BCS team isn’t exactly unexpected) it was a disheartening wake-up call for people who thought ASU would be able to hold their own.  Would it have been a different game to watch had we not lost Sutton and Onyeali?  Yes.  Would the outcome have been different?  Maybe.  At least it wouldn’t have been something that caused workplace head-shaking across the state (and nation).  And who knows what the recruiting ramifications will be; there were a lot of high profile recruits who were watching last night’s game very closely.

Thus begins the start of the most intense section of ASU’s schedule.  The lessons learned from last night’s game should carry through to the UCLA game next week.  There’s no doubt that Todd Graham has fundamentally changed this team, but the fans won’t truly appreciate that if the rest of the season is a downhill slide.  I don’t think it will be, but there are some who do.  But nothing speaks victory like wooing haters over from the dark side.  #FeartheFork

ASU's Rashad Ross tackled by Keanon Lowe (Photo courtesy of Alex McDougall/Emerald)