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Stanford holds off the Sun Devils

Stanford gets a big win in the desert

NCAA Football: Stanford at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford and Arizona State were both in need of a win coming into their tilt on Thursday night in Tempe, Arizona. The cooler temps at Sun Devil Stadium also seemed to cool off the offenses as well.

Stanford did come out with a 20-13 win over the Sun Devils, but for a majority of the game it was a defensive struggle.

Arizona State needed to keep Stanford running back Bryce Love in control on Thursday night. The Sun Devils talked about it for much of the week leading up to this game.

Last season the talented Cardinal running back ran for 307 yards on the Sun Devils, so you can understand the motivation for Arizona State in defending Love.

For the most part the Sun Devils kept Bryce Love in check. The Stanford back was limited to 21 yards on 11 carries for the entire game. He was a non-factor. The ankle injury he has dealt with for most of the season has slowed him considerably this year.

However, on the other side of the field was Sun Devil running back Eno Benjamin. Benjamin has had a pretty successful season, so the focus for Stanford head coach, David Shaw, was to keep Eno in control.

Mission accomplished there. Benjamin only ran for 38 yards on 11 carries.

Both Love and Benjamin ran for a combined 59 yards on 22 carries. That a paltry 2.6 yards per carry.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be honest here. This was a good game between the 20’s on Thursday night. The two teams were tied up at 6-6 going into halftime.

I kept asking myself if this was a Pac-12 game? We are so accustomed to high flying games and lots of offense in the Pac-12. When an anomaly game like this occurs Pac-12 people are not sure what to think.

Coming out of halftime I figured the first team to 20 points just might win this game.

Arizona State has been snake bitten in close games and it’s taking a bit of a toll on Sun Devil quarterback, Manny Wilkins. He showed some emotion in the post game press conference about losing a fourth game by a touchdown.

“I despise losing. I hate it. I’m sick and tired of coming in here and saying we’re one play away. We got to fix it.” Wilkins said.

Arizona State got themselves in a bind after giving up two touchdowns in the third quarter. The score was 20-6 and the Sun Devil offense wasn’t showing anything to make us believe that a comeback was imminent.

First team to 20 wins right?

The fans started to leave as well.

With about 7:50 to play in the game, Manny Wilkins scored on a 10 yard run. The score was 20-13 and there was a glimmer of hope. As with many other ASU games, the fans get hopeful only to have their Sun Devils run out of time to complete the comeback.

Such was the case here.

The final shot at putting this game into overtime or even winning the game started at the Arizona State 15 yard line. There was a little over two minutes left in the game.

This final drive finally ended at the Stanford 20 yard line. With no timeouts, Manny Wilkins throws a pass to Eno Benjamin in the flat. The play stays inbounds and the Sun Devils can not get up to the line to run another play.

Game over.

Why was the pass play in the flat and not the end zone?

That’s what many people are asking themselves.

Sun Devil head coach Herm Edwards sounded a bit down after the 20-13 loss to Stanford.

“Our errors were our biggest opponents. We had turnovers, penalties, and dropped balls. You can’t have those if you’re going to beat a team like Stanford.” Coach Edwards explained. (azcentral.com)

Arizona State has lost four out of their last five ball games. It’s an area that they do not want to be in. The Sun Devils travel to USC next Saturday.

It is a must win game for Arizona State.