As badly as ASU played in the 1st quarter, they magically made their inefficiency disappear over the next 3 quarter to turn around a 19-0 deficit into a 44-32 win.
3rd Down Efficiency
Off. 6 of 16, 37.5%; Def. 5 of 13 38.5%: A virtual draw in percentage is never a good sign, but this was flipped dramatically in the second half to balance out the game numbers. The fact that ASU had three more 3rd down opportunities is probably a number we need to look at more closely. OSU actually won the 1st down battle, 28-19, mainly because they were picking up more yards on 1st and 2nd down and their rushing game was in much better shape than ASU's.
Ratio: +4. This really comes down to 5 interceptions taken by ASU to 1 taken by OSU. Both teams lost one fumble, but ASU actually put the ball on the ground 3 times. Redshirt freshman Sean Canfield wasn't making great decisions, but you never complain about an opponent's young QB having a bad day. ASU was playing good defense in the second half, and that's really what counts, and Robert James continues to do his best Darren Woodson impression.
6 penalties, 60 yards: A dead heat again, but a big improvement over previous games. These pair of eyes saw many penalties that could have been called on both sides, but the crew seemed determine to keep their flags in their pocket. Six flags a game is right about where ASU wants to be, no more. It's historically a good number.
Overall grade: B+. It's almost impossible to draw any conclusions about this game or even this team so far, but it does seem clear ASU has a focus issue to start the games. They've been down double digits to Colorado and Oregon State, and generally made all of their worst mental mistakes in the first halves of the four first games. I'm guessing this is how the team is responding to the looser atmosphere around the program these days. These are still Koetter's recruits and they're used to being over-prepared and generally uptight in big games. The good news is when they're dialed in (such as on they are on the comeback trail), they can be a very efficient football team. The bad news is the kinds of mistakes they made so far aren't forgivable against the best Pac-10 teams. You never want to put too much emphasis on one aspect of the game, but here's to the coaches figuring out why players aren't coming out of the gate ready to play football.