Recap Week 10…ASU @ Oregon St: How to deal with a loss (football team, candidate, or otherwise)

Game Day Rewind: ASU loses to #11 Oregon State: 36-26 at Reser Stadium

Enough time has passed between Saturday’s game between ASU (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12) and Oregon State (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) for me to be able to look at it objectively.  Well, almost.  When the team flew south from Corvallis back to AZ, they were traveling in the same direction as the hopes of Sun Devil nation for redemption in the second half of the season.

The 36-26 loss was a rough one.  The details aren’t important (they can be found here or here), although the Devils did start off strong, taking advantage of OSU’s QB Cody Vaz’s uncertainty and a few Beaver fumbles, but by halftime the score was tied and OSU kept the edge from then on.  What is important, at least in the eyes of me and other fans, is that ASU hasn’t shown the ability to rebound from mid-game adversity.  Starting off in a lead is great, but if a team can’t utilize their weapons and keep the right mindset until all four quarters have been played, a first quarter lead is (obviously) meaningless.

A loss causes everyone to look back and wonder what else could’ve been done, what chances were lost, and what that ‘tipping point’ was.  Whichever presidential candidate that isn’t victorious today will undoubtedly do the same thing.  The ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’ examination is the first step, the next is to change those things in order to improve for the next go-round.  This is something I don’t think the Devils have been doing effectively.  There’s a lot that can’t be controlled in a football game, but watching the Devils (specifically Taylor Kelly’s wavering confidence, missed field goal kicks, a weak offensive line, and the absence of a go-to receiver) makes one think there’s an untapped potential within the team, which should be leading to more victories than what we’ve seen.

The current attitude of the fans is different than years past, because we’re seeing a team that’s more physical and more disciplined, but we’re still feeling the discouragement of watching a strong start disintegrate once we get to October.  There are still three more games on the schedule, including USC and the annual rivalry game at UA, which means three more chances for the Devils to demonstrate their ability to remain undefeated in attitude (even if the scoreboard doesn’t reflect that).  Stay tuned for my USC game preview on Friday and, until then, #fearthefork.

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