Arizona State and Oregon State enter the weekend with the thought that a Pac-12 division title, albeit difficult to achieve, is still a possibility with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
By kickoff late Saturday evening at Corvallis, Ore., the programs will know more about their fate based on the outcome of Oregon’s game earlier that day at Utah.
Oregon State (6-4, 4-3 Pac-12) is hoping that Oregon (9-1, 6-1) loses at Utah. If that were to happen and the Beavers can top Arizona State and then beat the Ducks in Eugene, Ore., next week, Oregon State could claim the Pac-12 North title.
Arizona State (7-3, 5-2) needs a win against the Beavers and a loss by Utah (7-3, 6-1) to Oregon. Even then, the Sun Devils must count beat visiting Arizona next week and have the Utes lose to Colorado to win the Pac-12 South championship.
Arizona State has won its past two games against USC and Washington after losing consecutive games to Utah and Washington State. Oregon State rebounded from consecutive losses to Cal and Colorado by overpowering Stanford 35-14 last week at Corvallis.
The Beavers became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2013 with the victory.
Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith, hired in 2018 to coach at his alma mater, inherited a program that was coming off a 1-11 season.
“There’s no question this is big,” said Smith, who was the starting quarterback during Oregon State’s 2000 Fiesta Bowl season. “(Win) number six is big. I’m not going to dance around that. We’ve got a couple more games that can mean a whole lot.”
Chance Nolan completed 19 of 25 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard TD to Trevon Bradford that helped the Beavers end an 11-game losing streak against Stanford.
This will be the third straight season Arizona State will travel to Oregon State — last year’s Pac-12 schedules were altered because of COVID-19 protocols — with the teams splitting the previous two matchups.
The Sun Devils won the season finale 46-33 last year.
Arizona State is hoping momentum from last week’s 35-30 comeback win at Washington will carry over into Saturday. The Sun Devils overcame deficits of 14-0 early and 24-14 entering the fourth quarter to pull out the win.
Rachaad White and Arizona State’s running game was impressive. White had 32 carries for 184 yards and two touchdowns while the Sun Devils amassed 286 rushing yards.
“We hung together,” Arizona State coach Herm Edwards said. “That was the mindset going into it — all we have is each other. We have to count on each other.”
–Field Level Media