CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Arizona State won an emotional game last week, setting a record by scoring the most points ever in its 121-year series against Arizona.
In any other year, the annual Territorial Cup game would be the regular-season finale.
This, in nearly every aspect, is not a typical year.
Instead of preparing for a bowl game or the offseason, the Sun Devils have another game to close out the regular season.
The 70-7 win over Arizona last weekend was a huge moment for the program, not to mention Arizona State's first win of this pandemic-affected season, but now the Sun Devils have to refocus for what should be a chilly Saturday night against Oregon State in Corvallis.
“There’s a lot of things to work on. We’re nowhere close to where we want to be,” Arizona State coach Herm Edwards said. “This was the first time for a lot of these freshmen kids who are in our program to have actually won a college game. It was hard. This was their first win. How they use it will be interesting this week.”
Arizona State (1-2) had a wild ride through the 2020 season, one the Pac-12 decided would be conference-only games due to the pandemic.
The Sun Devils lost by one to Southern California after allowing two touchdowns in the final three minutes. Arizona State then had three straight games canceled due to COVID-19 issues, including a positive test by Edwards, and returned to lose another game in the closing minute to UCLA.
Last week, the Sun Devils scored the most points in Territorial Cup history, which led to the firing of Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin.
“This is unprecedented for us, for everybody,” Edwards said. "I think for a lot of us, we learned a lot about ourselves and the people we surround ourselves with and the people we work with and we associate with."
Oregon State (2-4) didn't have the same disruptions as the Sun Devils, playing every game on the schedule so far, but the Beavers have been up and down on the field.
The Beavers opened the season with two straight losses, won two straight — one over rival Oregon — and lost their last two games, including 27-24 last week to Stanford. Oregon State beat Arizona State 35-34 last season in an upset.
“Last year we came out on top, and I just know that this team, Arizona State, will come in here ready to play and play with some energy," Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said. "We’re going to have to be able to match that.”
Oregon State could be without several key players for Saturday's game.
Linebacker Avery Roberts, who leads the Pac-12 with 69 tackles, broke his arm against Stanford last week and is out for the rest of the season. Leading running back Jermar Jefferson sprained his ankle against the Cardinal and has been limited in practice.
Starting cornerback Nahshon Wright is dealing with a knee issue and his backup and brother, Rejzohn, dislocated two fingers in practice this week.
Receiver Champ Flemings also is out and receiver Trevon Bradford is doubtful.
ASU RUNNING GAME
Arizona State has one of the Pac-12′s most dynamic quarterbacks in Jayden Daniels, but also has a pretty impressive group of running backs.
Junior Rachaad White averages 9.0 yards per carry with three TDs. He ran for 133 yards and three scores against Arizona.
Freshman Chip Trayanum has had an immediate impact for the Sun Devils, averaging 6.3 yards per carry with three TDs. Freshman Daniyel Ngata has proven to be a powerful runner with plenty of speed in limited carries this season.
Oregon State QB Chance Nolan made his second career start last week after Tristan Gebbia underwent season-ending hamstring surgery.
Nolan lost a fumble in the closing seconds as the Beavers tried to set up a tying field goal or winning touchdown but otherwise had a solid game. He threw for 221 yards and three TDs with 50 yards rushing.
“I think he made a huge jump,” Smith said. “You could just feel his comfort level grow.”
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