The passing game continues to be a problem for Arizona State football

Arizona State’s offense has been a disappointment lately, and that’s become even more of a concern for head coach Herm Edwards.

In a 24-10 loss at Oregon State, the lack of offense became even more alarming as ASU hit multiple season lows against a Beavers defense that ranked seventh in the Pac-12. ASU drove in a measly 10 points, its season-lowest point total, on a minimum of 266 yards.

All the while, the Oregon State defense filled the middle and cut ASU’s running game to 100 yards; star running back Rachaad White had just 39 yards. As effective as ASU’s running game is, it hurts a lot not to have the passing game on par against Oregon State.

“I think the trajectory is the passing game. The running game was pretty good, last week, not so much,” Edwards said. “They piled on top of us and dragged us into some bad downs and we couldn’t get the ball running like we were. would have liked. That being said, if you have an effective passing game, it helps.

“We wanted to be a little more explosive with the wide receiver position and in the passing game and we saw that in spots. Lately, it hasn’t been what you wanted. I’m not criticizing, that’s how it is. I’m not pointing fingers at any coach or player, we just have to come together and make the most of our passing game.

The receiving group was so depleted all season that White fought his way up to No. 2 on the roster with 425 yards. His lone receiving touchdown is just one step away from putting him in the current tie at three for most touchdowns (two). Arizona State’s receiving group has accounted for just 10 of 43 touchdowns scored this season.

It’s also not a full stretch for receivers to carry the offensive load. Against UCLA, the Sun Devils outshot the Bruins with 287 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Ricky Pearsall, ASU’s leading receiver in games played, took over with 132 yards and two touchdowns.

But since the Oct. 2 road game, the receiving corps hasn’t lived up to those expectations, and it’s been tough without a receiver becoming a prime target for quarterback Jayden Daniels. He struggled to stay consistent throughout the season, especially after his first season with Brandon Aiyuk as the top receiver. Edwards said the offense still doesn’t have this guy.

“The chemistry with the guys who are out of line with Jayden hasn’t helped…” Edwards said. “We have good players, but they are young. These guys have been in and out of the lineup. I’m not looking for excuses, but that’s the reality. »

Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) passes as Oregon State defenseman Akili Arnold (0) comes in for a hit during the first quarter of a game in NCAA college football on Saturday, November 20, 2021 in Corvallis, Ore.

Of the team’s 13 active receivers, only two have played in all 11 games, while four have played in 10 games and three have played in nine games. The other four have played between eight and five games.

Injuries have plagued the roster regardless of position, but the receiving squad has always been shorn. Johnny Wilson, a promising tight end, has seen limited action this season with just five games, with one game including the Washington State game where he is out with a re-aggravated hamstring injury. Tight end Curtis Hodges was absent from Oregon State after being one of five players involved in a car crash on campus after days of practice before the game.

Offensive line issues

As the offense sputtered against Oregon State, the offensive line fell behind in its duties.

Oregon State’s defense ranked 10th in sacks but managed to hit Daniels three times in the game, including on the Sun Devils’ final drive in the fourth quarter.

But what really crippled ASU’s offense were seven false starts on offense, including three on offensive lineman Spencer Lovell, who replaced injured Henry Hattis. Two false starts occurred on the last run.

“It’s just focus, simple as that. It’s knowing that’s what they’re going to do, we practice it, we have the music loud, we do everything…” Edwards said. “We have to do a better job of concentrating, that’s all. I can’t take it anymore, I can’t train him anymore. We were good in this game until the last quarter, then he reappears.

Arizona State as a team allowed 8.4 penalties per game, ranking it 125th in the nation.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602-647-4122. Follow her on Twitter @jennarortiz.

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