3 Cowboy Takeaways: Sun Devils Washed Out In Rainy Stillwater, Fall To Cowboys 34-17

Sanders threw for 268 yards, completed 21 passes to six different receivers and the defense stayed strong, defeating the Sun Devils 34-17.

Saturday, September 10th 2022, 11:38 pm

By: News 9, News On 6, Drake Johnson

Spencer Sanders and the Cowboys hosted current PAC-12 member and possible future Big-12 member Arizona State in Stillwater on Saturday. Just this week, new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark told reporters in Cincinnati that he’s looking to expand the conference westward.

"Obviously, going out west is where I would like to go, entering that fourth time zone," Yormark said.

Arizona State, along with Arizona, Utah and Colorado are all on the short list of teams the Big 12 could snatch from the Pac-12 in the future. As the great Herm Edwards said, “You play to win the game,” and the name of the game in conference expansion is strength in numbers.

Related Story: Sanders Leads No. 11 Oklahoma St. Past Arizona St., 34-17

This matchup between nonconference teams who could be future conference foes was one of many this weekend. Most notably, future SEC member Texas took No. 1 Alabama to the wire in Austin. Houston fell to Texas Tech in overtime and just for old times sake, Kansas State beat up on Missouri. How’d it go for the Cowboys up in Stillwater?

Sanders threw for 268 yards, completed 21 passes to six different receivers and the defense stayed strong, defeating the Sun Devils 34-17.

First Takeaway: Run Game Has Been Established

Last week, one of the biggest question marks for the Cowboys was the running game. Sanders finished with 57 yards and Richardson had 61, while the team totaled 125 against Central Michigan.

This week, after a slow start that included four punts and an interception, the Cowboys rushed for 197 yards while averaging 4.3 yards per carry.

Sanders wasn’t as sharp as he was last week in the passing game, so being able to lean on a successful run game was beneficial. Richardson had 131 yards against Arizona State, cementing himself as the lead back and Sanders ran fourteen times for 54 yards and a touchdown.

Second Takeaway: Defense Shows What It’s Made Of

There’s no preseason in college football, everyone knows that by now. So in September, teams go from practicing against each other to playing for real. There’s bound to be some problems that need working out.

That’s why one of the most tell-tale signs of a good team is how they improve week to week, building off of the last one. That’s exactly what the Cowboys did on defense Saturday.

After looking lost on multiple plays last week versus the Chippewas, OSU's defense is what kept the game close early on as the offense stalled. The Sun Devils got burned on third downs, converting only two of their 13 opportunities. Quarterback Emory Jones only completed fifty percent of his passes for 223 yards because defenders like Mason Cobb, Brock Martin and Xavier Benson were creating pressure all night.

OSU finished with 10 QB hurries and three sacks with eight tackles for loss against the Sun Devils.

As this core continues to play and grow together, they’re only going to get better.

Third Takeaway: The Turning Point

Near the midpoint of the third quarter with the Cowboys up 17-10, it started to feel like we were in for a wild ending in Stillwater.

After a three-and-out gave the Sun Devils the ball and an opportunity to tie the game, it started raining.

Defensive teams thrive in bad weather.

Especially against struggling offenses.

The camera crews panned around as misting rain fell on the players and fans across the stadium while the teams lined up for a pivotal third down. OSU brought pressure and forced Jones into a hurried throw that fell short, which then led to a long field goal in rainy weather.

The kicker missed.

See the Cowboys next week in Stillwater against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 6 p.m.


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