Costly mistakes prevent upset‏

Saturday's loss to No. 5 Oregon had a similar feel to last week's loss to Wisconsin as the Sun Devils fought hard but ultimately shot themselves in the foot a few too many times to escape with an upset.

After a crisp offensive game against Wisconsin, the Devils appeared to come out the same way against a much quicker Oregon team as Deantre Lewis started the scoring off with a 53-yard touchdown run and Sun Devil Stadium was rocking.

Unfortunately for ASU their 597 total yards against Oregon were flanked by seven turnovers (four interceptions and three fumbles), and nine penalties for 90 yards.

"You turn it over seven times, you're going to have some issues; against anybody, but particularly against a football team like the University of Oregon," Coach Dennis Erickson mentioned after the game. "It seemed in the second half we just didn't have as much rhythm offensively. The first half we had rhythm then you had some turning points where you get the turnover and fumble it back, but it was simply that. We gave up big plays on defense also, but you turn it over like that; we're still in the football game at the end, last seven or eight minutes, we turned it over twice, that's the bottom line."

Though moral victories don't count in the win column as many Sun Devil fans wish the last two weeks could, this team appears to be on the cusp of doing some big things in both the Pac-10 on a national stage.

"It's frustrating because we know we have a pretty good team, but we're just making some mistakes," Erickson pointed out. "Nobody turns it over on purpose, but in a game like this against one of the better teams in the country it's frustrating.

"Then again you see yourself move the football and you see the plays you make on both sides of the football and it makes you feel like you have a chance to be a good football team, but you have to win games. We had an opportunity I thought today at halftime particularly and then as we started the third quarter and even the fourth quarter to win the football game. We were never out the game until the end."

Quarterback Steven Threet completed 30 passes for 387 yards and three touchdowns, but his mistakes in the red-zone, particularly at the end of the game when ASU had a chance to push ahead, ended up costing the Sun Devils another much needed victory.

"A mixed bag I guess is probably the best way to put it," Erickson said of Threet's performance. "He made some great plays, did some really good things and obviously he made some mistakes. Unfortunately that's part of that position and I believe with Steven he'll learn from some of the things that happened in that game. Again, he hasn't played a whole lot and he'll get better and better all the time, and he made some good plays but he made some crucial throws too that hurt."

Saturday's game against Oregon may end up being more costly than just one loss as well as several Sun Devils went down early and often, including Dan Knapp with a sprained MCL, and several defenders including Vontaze Burfict, and Lawrence Guy.

"It was a physical game," Erickson declared, "but I also think a lot of those were cramps. Tez hurt his knee at the end, but it was a battle out there, it was a war out there between two pretty good football teams and it was pretty physical."

At some point it has to come together for this team, but what frustrates more than anything is the way in which the loss continue to pile up. Penalties and turnovers cannot be tolerated for a team looking to get over the hump, but luckily for ASU there is plenty of season left to make adjustments.

"The bottom line is you look at the positives and correct the negatives," Erickson stated. "To me a game like that we beat ourselves, and beating yourselves to me is correctable because you've got the talent to play pretty well.

"We talked about that, we talked about turnovers, we talked about things that happened during the game, but our emphasis is that we've got to continue to get better, correct those things, and if we do that we've got eight football games left, we've got a lot of season left, and all of them in the league so we feel like we can get things straightened out and we have a chance to win football games."


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