ASU players agonize over missed opportunity

PASADENA, Calif. - Just when it appeared that the Sun Devils had finally matured and learned from a 2010 season full disappointing losses by their own hand, the maroon and gold reverted back to their old ways falling to the UCLA Bruins 29-28 at the Rose Bowl.

"I don't know if it's really set in yet," quarterback Brock Osweiler said. "Its definitely going to hurt but we did it to ourselves. I know myself personally, I missed plenty of throws out there today that maybe if I had made them we would have gotten a first down or scored touchdowns and we wouldn't have even been in this situation.

"As a football team, each individual really needs to look at themselves and really examine what he could have done better because we need to learn from this to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The maroon and gold were trailing by one and started their last drive with 42 seconds left on the clock. With the opportunity to score, Osweiler lead the offense down the field and into field goal range.

"That's all you can do as an offense," Osweiler commented. "You're not given much time on the clock, not many timeouts but guys stepped up and made plays and the offensive line protected. We did what we were supposed to do in a two minute drill situation."

Unable to get into the end zone, the Sun Devils were forced to rely on kicker Alex Garoutte. The redshirt freshman, not known for his consistency, was 0-2 during the contest against the Bruins but his number was called to attempt the 46-yard field goal for the win but came up empty handed.

"Correct me if I'm wrong but it was a 46 yard field goal," Osweiler began. "I think that was right where we were going. Alex has a big leg; we've seen him in practice make 55, 56-yard field goals. My goal was just to get him around 50-yards at least and like I said guys stepped up and make plays, the offensive line protected and we gave him a shot."

But what advice did the quarterback have for his kicker with the game on the line?

"Before he went out there and they called that first timeout, I told him to come over and I told him, you're a great kicker, you've kicked a million of these in your life, take a deep breath and go have fun," Osweiler stated. "It didn't turn out the way we had hoped for but Alex is a great competitor, I know he will bounce back and learn from this as well."

Coming into tonight's matchup the Sun Devils were looking to secure the Pac-12 South title with a win over UCLA, but with the loss to the Bruins the maroon and gold are no longer in control of their destiny.

"I can't even describe it," running back Cameron Marshall said. "The looks on every body's face and knowing how much this hurts us and how much we set out to meet our goal at the beginning of the season to go to the Rose Bowl, and we still can but this one hurts. You control your own destiny and when you mess up it's really frustrating."

Marshall had standout performance for the maroon and gold offense with 27 carries for a career high 168 yards and is now 6th all-time in school history with 24 career-rushing touchdowns. Marshall is also tied for 6th all-time in school history for single-season rushing touchdowns with 13 this year, but for the junior, all of that is irrelevant without the win.

"If I would have rushed for 1 yard and we won by 20, I would be ecstatic right now so it really doesn't mean much with the loss," Marshall admitted.

Defensively, the maroon and gold had an uncharacteristically poor performance against the Bruins. For a defense that prides themselves on stopping the run game, gave up 220 rushing yards during the matchup.

"They were running the ball on us," linebacker Colin Parker said. "Its something that we pride ourselves on as a defense, stopping the run but they were hitting us for big plays all night long and its something that we're going to have to look at and fix if we want to play the way we can the rest of the season."

Surprisingly, the defense struggled to contain UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince who rushed for 96 yards throughout the contest.

"It really just comes back to gap assignments," Parker commented. "We had people out of place and people who missed tackles when they had opportunities and he was able to break some runs. He really hurt us more than we were hoping he would."

With several chances for the maroon and gold defense to contain the Bruins, it appeared the unit was unable to figure come together to stop the effective UCLA offense or capitalize on situations that could have changed the game.

"In all three phases we missed opportunities," Parker admitted. "We had that fumble that we caused on the kickoff late in the game that we didn't get any points off. We had coming out of the half we gave them an easy 7 with blown coverage. Missed tackles, it was just all around. We had opportunities and we didn't execute in the end."


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