Threet sacked 6 times as ASU football loses at OSU, 31-28

It was hard to watch yesterday’s Arizona State game against Oregon State in Corvallis without holding your breath… waiting for the next mistake from a team that dropped its last two games amid a flurry of penalties and turnovers – seven turnovers alone in the Oregon game.

You hoped that was all behind them, but you couldn’t watch the game without thinking about it:

ASU scores first on its opening drive.  QB Steven Threet hits Gerell Robinson with a 39-yard touchdown pass.

Great.  No fumbles, no interceptions.  A good start.

With 5:30 left in the first half, the Sun Devils pick up their first significant penalty, a blocking-in-the- back call to move them farther back into their own territory and force Threet to throw the ball.

Uh-oh… is it starting again?

Three plays later, James Dockery intercepts Threet at the ASU 42-yard line, and then Beavers’ running back Jacquizz Rodgers scores to take their first lead of the game at 10-7, the start of 17 unanswered points that enable the Beavers to take a 24-14 lead into the half.

Can’t panic.  Things will settle down.

But two minutes into the second half, a roughing-the-passer penalty gives the Beavers an automatic first down to help propel their opening drive of the second half.

Uh-oh… is it starting again?

ASU is poised to score from the one-yard line as the third quarter grinds down.  But Threet, in the shotgun, fumbles the snap on third down and the Devils have to kick their second field goal instead of getting the TD.

Yep… it’s starting again.  But we’re only four points down.  Maybe…

As the fourth quarter opens, Rodgers runs for a 74-yard touchdown on a play the Beavers coaching staff puts in at halftime.  Now it’s 31-20.

OK, there’s still plenty of time…

ASU does move the ball down the field, and is prepared to close the gap to just four points and make this a winnable game.  But, with 8:28 left in the game, Threet is intercepted in the end zone to give the ball back over to the Beavers.

Uh-oh.  It’s no longer starting.  Now the mistakes are in full bloom.

ASU’s Mike Callaghan, the senior free safety from Brophy Prep in Phoenix, blocks a punt with a little more than three minutes left in the game.  Cameron Marshall takes it in for the score from the 21, and then they convert the two-point play to put them within a field goal at 31-28.  But the Devils’ luck runs out with the clock.

This loss was especially painful, almost a mirror image of last season’s meeting with OSU in Tempe, when each team needed the win badly.  ASU took the loss to go to 2-2 and started a slide that resulted in just two more wins the rest of the way.

Yesterday, the Devils had troubles on both sides of the ball.  The defense allowed Beaver QB Ryan Katz to enjoy his best game of the season, completing 19 passes to nine different receivers.

On the other side, the offensive line failed to protect Threet the way they have in earlier games.  The University of Michigan transfer was just 14-of-29 for 203 yards, and was sacked six times and intercepted three times.

The Sun Devils did manage to rack up 364 yards of offense, but gave up 416 yards to the Beavers, which is more than 100 yards over OSU’s season average.  ASU’s freshman running back, Deantre Lewis, ran for 104 yards for his third consecutive 100-yard game.

ASU head coach, Dennis Erickson, has a difficult task ahead.  The former Oregon State head coach has to pick up his 2-3 team, whose spirits are likely at the lowest level all season, and deal with two more road games before getting back to Tempe for the homecoming game against the last-place team in the conference, Washington State.

The Sun Devils have seven games left on the schedule.  They need to win five of those in order to be bowl eligible for the first time since 2007.

The next two games are against Washington and California.  Neither team is nationally-ranked, but Washington is 1-0 and in fourth place in the Pac-10.  California is 0-1 in conference play and sits just above ASU, in 8th place.

Both games are winnable and should present good opportunities for the Devils to climb back up to a winning record before coming back home for Homecoming and Halloween.

But where have we heard that before?

(Photo: ASU Athletics)