ASU Football: Sun Devils earn bowl eligibility in Corvallis

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Manny Wilkins
PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Manny Wilkins /

In their first victory in Corvallis since 2005, ASU football became bowl eligible for the sixth time in seven seasons with a 40-24 victory over Oregon State.

From the get-go it was all Arizona State as Manny Wilkins connected with Kyle Williams and Curtis Hodges to jump out to a quick 14-0 lead. A safety forced by the defense pushed the lead to 16-0 before the end of the first quarter.

“I was really proud of our guys, we had a great week of practice, our guys were really dialed in and focused and this is probably one of the best road trips I’ve been on,” head coach Todd Graham said. “Everything about what we were doing was laser focused and we came in and dominated a team to get our sixth win, become bowl eligible… I’m really proud of our guys, big win for us.”

From the end of the first quarter onwards, it became the Demario Richard show. Richard started off the second quarter with a 17-yard rushing touchdown to further extend the Sun Devils’ lead to 23-0 after only 16 minutes of football. Richard would tack on two more touchdowns to end his day at 119 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

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“We knew our goal was to come out and play fast, we saw on film that [Oregon State] has a hard time with tempo, getting lined up, so we just came out a pushed the tempo and it showed in the first quarter, and the second quarter, and the third quarter,” Richard said.

The name of the game for ASU was running the ball. Wilkins only had 19 pass attempts all game while there were 49 team rushing attempts. The Sun Devils ended with 286 yards on the ground, and 167 yards through the air.

Arizona State is now bowl eligible for the first time as Wilkins as the starting quarterback. Depending on how they do against the University of Arizona in the Territorial Cup, the Sun Devils have a chance to represent the Pac-12 in a bowl game that is considered a higher-profile bowl game than the Cactus Bowl, the last bowl game to feature ASU.

“I think it was really important to get this win solely for the seniors,” Wilkins said postgame. “They come with a passion every single game, every single day at practice, and personally I wanted to make sure that we got this one and really go get this next one so that we can get a good bowl.”

Their next game will be the Territorial Cup, where they will look to stop the red-hot Kahlil Tate and avenge their embarrassing loss last season in Tucson. When asked about the Territorial Cup Wilkins and Richard made it clear that they wanted to enjoy this week’s victory.

“Next question,” Richard said.

“The game itself is explanatory,” Wilkins said.

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The Sun Devils will now use this upcoming week of practice to get ready for what some fans consider the biggest game of the season. With a win giving you a chance at a higher-profile bowl game and a winning season there is still a lot on the line for Arizona State as they will look to give their fans one last reason to be satisfied with this season.