Oklahoma State overcame a slow start and the 104-degree temperatures in Tempe to exit Mountain American Stadium with a 27-15 win and an unblemished start after week 2.
The Cowboys’ (2-0) defense picked up their play in the second half holding the Sun Devils out of the red zone and end zone. Oklahoma State used the momentum generated by the defense to put points on the board. After scoring just 10 points in the first half, the Cowboys scored 17 unanswered points.
The Sun Devils’ offense struggled to find consistency in the second half, a fact not lost on head coach Kenny Dillingham, who lamented, “We didn’t put together a drive, and you’re not going to win many football games when you’re not converting third-and-1’s and fourth-and-1’s.” Oklahoma State didn’t allow a drive longer than 35 yards while holding Arizona State to just four first downs in the second half.
In the first half, Arizona State showed flashes of offensive brilliance, with freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada connecting with Elijah Badger on a remarkable 65-yard touchdown pass, marking Badger’s longest reception and touchdown of his collegiate career. This electrifying play also catapulted Badger over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for ASU.
Cam Skattebo contributed to the Sun Devils’ early success, recording 62 rushing yards and finding the end zone for the second consecutive game. Notably, he surpassed 2,000 career rushing yards during the game.
Defensively for ASU, B.J. Green recorded his second career two-sack performance. Defensive back Shamari Simmons led all Sun Devils defenders with 10 tackles including a tackle for a loss of a half yard.
Arizona State was the first to put points on the board. Their second offensive series fared better than the first. Quarterback Jaden Rashada led the Sun Devils on an 11-play, 77-yard drive capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by Cam Skattebo.
The Cowboys evened the score with a 7-play, 43-yard scoring drive to start the second quarter. Alan Bowman completed his longest pass of the game, a 16-yarder to Jaden Bray on the first play of the quarter from scrimmage. Bray hauled in a second 16-yard pass from Bowman to give the Cowboys a first down at the 3-yard line. Ollie Gordon II capped the drive punching it in from the two-yard line.
Rashada and company responded with a lightning-quick score. The freshman quarterback found Elijah Badger all alone in the middle of the field at the 34-yard line and the speedy receiver took it to the house for a 65-yard touchdown. ASU opted for a two-point conversion to take a 15-7 lead.
Oklahoma State managed a field goal after driving into ASU territory, with Alex Hale nailing a 53-yarder to cut the Sun Devil lead to go into halftime trailing 10-15.
The second half belonged to the Cowboys on both sides of the ball. Oklahoma State took their first possession of the second half 60 yards to the end zone on five plays. Gunny Gundar, one of three OkSt quarterbacks to play, threw a BB to De’Zhaun Stribling on a 3-yard slant for a touchdown to give the Cowboys their first lead of the game, 17-15.
Garret Rangel entered the game for the Cowboys in the fourth quarter and settled in on his second set of downs. He moved the offense into field goal position where Alex Hale’s foot took care of business.
Rangel put the nail in the Sun Devils’ coffin on his next series. The redshirt freshman found Brennan Presley flaring out of the backfield and the 5’8” senior receiver found nothing but daylight down the sideline for a touchdown.
Oklahoma State moves to 2-0 on the season, while Arizona State falls to 1-1. The Sun Devils will look to rebound as they continue their four-game home stand, facing off against Mountain West champion Fresno State at Mountain America Stadium. Oklahoma State returns to Boone Pickens Stadium where they will play host to the South Alabama Jaguars (1-1) from the Sun Belt Conference.
All photos copyright Kevin C. Cox, Maximum Exposure for CORE360 Sports