Sun Devils look to extend Beavers’ long road losing streak
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State coach Herm Edwards is pointing to Oregon State’s offense as a reason the Sun Devils cannot afford to overlook the Beavers when they meet Saturday night.
“There’s a team when you watch them on tape they play in a lot of high-scoring games, believe it or not,” Edwards said. “They have actually scored 128 points thus far in four games.”
It’s Oregon State’s defense that helps make Arizona State (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) such a big favorite.
The Beavers (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12) are last in the conference in every significant defensive category. So it would be a big upset if Oregon State was to end its 21-game road losing streak in Tempe.
Arizona rushed for 442 yards in last week’s 35-14 victory over the Beavers in Corvallis, so Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith knows what to expect from the Sun Devils.
“They’re (ASU) going to try to run the ball. We’ve got to shore up some things and continue to battle out there,” Smith said. “Again, I go back to the tackling and being in your proper spot. We’ve got opportunities to make some plays, we’ve just got to be in the proper spot and bring them down. It’s going to be a point of emphasis.”
The Sun Devils are coming off a strong effort in last Saturday night’s 27-20 loss at Washington. It’s quite a drop in competition this week and Edwards doesn’t want any letdown.
“If we play with energy like we did against Washington then I think things will work out but we have to play,” he said. “This team is going to come in here and play hard. Oregon State, every game you watch they play hard, very competitive group.”
Here are some things to consider when the Beavers come to Tempe for the first time since 2013:
LUTON’S RETURN? Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton missed the Arizona game with a high ankle sprain but could be back this week.
“We like having Jake available. He can do some things, he’s shown that in games,” Smith said. “We’re optimistic to have him this weekend.
Before the injury, Luton had been sharing time with Conor Blount, who threw two touchdown passes against Arizona.
DEVIL RUNNER: Eno Benjamin must have watched the tape of Arizona running over, past and by the Beavers last week with great anticipation.
The sophomore is Arizona State’s chief threat on the ground and could get a lot of work against the Beavers. Benjamin had his second 100-yard rushing game of the season against the stout defense of Washington.
He certainly could have his third on Saturday night.
STOPPING JEFFERSON: Freshman Jermar Jefferson is having a standout start to his college career at Oregon State.
At 118 yards rushing per game, he ranks 12th nationally and is second among true freshmen.
Jefferson has six rushing touchdowns.
LOOK OUT FOR HARRY: N’Keal Harry, considered one of the top receivers in the country, was an obvious target for Washington and the Huskies bottled him up last week. He caught five passes for just 20 yards.
“N’Keal is always in our plans every week and we do our best to get him the ball, we move him around,” Edwards said. “We’re smart enough to move him around so he’s not going to be in one spot so you have to figure out where he’s at. Sometimes the read’s when you go back to throw, they’re doubling him or something and you can’t throw it to him, you have to throw it to someone else.”
Expect quarterback Manny Wilkins and Harry to team up often this week against the Beavers.
HERNANDEZ NEARS 1,000: Oregon State’s Timmy Hernandez, who grew up in Phoenix and figures to have many friends and family on hand, returns home needing 184 yards receiving to be the 31st Beavers player to reach 1,000 yards receiving.
He had a touchdown catch last week, the fifth of his career.
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