Players at loss for words following defeat

The Territorial Cup will return to Tucson after the Sun Devils fell short to the University of Arizona Wildcats 31-27 at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday night. A combination of shortcomings ultimately lead to the Sun Devils defeat including several missed opportunities to put points on the board.

"No words can explain it," quarterback Brock Osweiler began. "Our fans came out and supported us, better than I've ever seen at my three years here. It was unbelievable the energy the fans brought. Our defense fought so hard and our offense played so well and when it really comes down to it at the end of the day, as a quarterback it's my job to find a way to get out offense in the end zone and I didn't do that tonight.

"That's just the difference in the game; we had plenty of opportunities I feel like we just didn't capitalize on them. The defense put us in a position to be successful all night, special teams did a tremendous job and our fans did as well and this one just comes down to not scoring when you have the opportunity to and that's my job as the quarterback. "

Now, with three consecutive losses the maroon and gold are searching for answers as to what exactly is leading to the decline of their once promising season.

"Its something that we've been working really hard to find, to find the team that was playing in the beginning of the year, to find the team that was so confident during summer workouts," Osweiler admitted. "For some reason we can't grab on to that. Does that mean we're going to give up? Not at all. We're going to figure this out, we're going to come back and give it our all against cal and see what's in store for us after that."

As for tonight's loss, the Sun Devil offense struggled to convert in the red zone, and despite racking up 487 passing yards during the contest, Osweiler struggled to lead the offense into the end zone when the game was on the line.

"I think it comes down to game planning and preparation," Osweiler commented. "We kind of stalled when we hit the red zone tonight and that just comes onto me needing to find a away to get us in the end zone. This week I'm going to study the heck out of Cal in the red zone so I can find a way to get us in there because the offense and the rest of the team are playing too well to be losing a football game like this."

Osweiler and the rest of the Sun Devils will have one more chance to redeem themselves next week when they face Cal at home, but in the meantime the quarterback expects the entire unit to examine their own efforts on and off the field.

"I think each individual needs to look at himself and truly look in the mirror and ask himself if he did everything he could during the week to prepare himself to win this football game," Osweiler said. "Maybe I didn't study the red zone well enough and like I said, its my job to get us in the end zone and I need to figure out a way to do that because the same thing happened last week.

"I think that each guy needs to look at himself but you can't lose that team thing, you can't be breaking apart into individuals, this is when we need to stay tight, come together as a family and finish this thing off."

Defensively, the maroon and gold has one of their worst tackling performances of the season. Missing tackles left and right ultimately lead to the Wildcats regaining the lead late in the fourth quarter.

"I was in purist and I saw it," defensive lineman Bo Moos said. "A lot of times when you're in purist you see people and you see that a tackle should be made. You slow down a little bit and next thing you know he is off into the end zone and you know if you had kept running you would be there to make the play. I feel bad about that because it happened several times tonight. It wasn't a good tackling effort and that's all there is to it."

For weeks, rumors have been flying that the recent losses could put head Coach Dennis Erickson's job at risk but Moos admits that Erickson is not to blame for the teams performance.

"The blame is on the players," Moos stated. "Our coaches coached the same way this week as they did the week of USC, the week of Missouri. It's on the players."

Football games aren't the only thing lost in the past few weeks. Leadership appears to be lacking on a team with 30 seniors on their roster and as the season comes to a close next week, Moos is calling upon his fellow seniors to step up and lead their team like they should.

"He (Erickson) wants the leadership to come from the players," Moos began. "Which is where it should come from and when you have a group of 30 seniors, you should expect it to be there but something in the chemistry hasn't been right for the past month and I really cannot put my finger on what that is."

So, what do the maroon and gold have to do to salvage the rest of the season?

"We just have to find a way to regroup," Moos commented. "Especially us seniors, this is our last home game. Its on our shoulders now, we have to find a way to take charge this week at practice."

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