Arizona State head coach Todd Graham's blitz-happy defensive scheme was on full display Saturday night against Oregon State.
The upside was present when the team pressured and then intercepted Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion in the first quarter. The downside of having such an attacking mentality was apparent when Oregon State running backs Storm Woods (78 yards) and Terron Ward (66 yards) both busted long first-quarter touchdown runs or when Mannion went deep on what turned out to be the winning touchdown pass.
Corvallis once again proved to be a house of horrors for a highly-ranked Pac-12 team with national title aspirations as the Beavers took advantage of the Sun Devils' mistakes to pull off a massive 35-27 victory. It was nothing new for Beavers head coach Mike Riley, who beat his fifth top 10 opponent at home during his tenure at the school.
Mannion had a solid night despite all of Graham's pressure, performing well in front of a national audience for the first time in a while -- he went 19-of-33 for 251 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. While he had a few throws he'd probably like to have back, he still had several nice moments and ended up breaking Derek Anderson's school record for career touchdown passes, finishing the night at 80.
No completion was nicer, however, than Mannion's 67-yarder to Jordan Villamin in the fourth quarter, which proved to be the winning touchdown that helped set off celebrations from Portland to Columbus to Waco. Michael Doctor's 35-yard pick-six with less than two minutes left proved to be the icing on the cake for the Beavers.
Both Ward and Woods finished with over a 100 yards rushing and helped the team average nearly seven yards a carry on the night. Villamin stepped up as a tough player to cover, hauling in four passes for 127 yards and that key fourth-quarter touchdown.
The loss proved to be extremely costly for the Sun Devils and not just because it put their Pac-12 South hopes in jeopardy. Star receiver Jaelen Strong had a solid day, with 103 yards receiving, but he couldn't come down with some key conversions and had to leave the game after hitting the turf hard while trying to catch a pass. Starting safety Jordan Simone also left the contest with an injury.
Arizona State signal-caller Taylor Kelly finished the night as a 50 percent passer and threw two interceptions. Tailback D.J. Foster never could find an opening, racking up just 51 yards rushing, although he did have 65 receiving yards along with a touchdown. He showed flashes for sure but was largely taken out of the second half.
Like others before them though, Arizona State walked out of Corvallis with a look of disappointment on their faces -- another season derailed thanks to some late-night magic from Oregon State.