ASU Sun Devils inch closer to first Pac-12 South title

PHOENIX - The 19th ranked (BCS) (21 A.P. / 22 Coaches) Arizona State Sun Devils return home this weekend for a Pac-12 game against Oregon State on Saturday night. The Devils are looking for their first five game winning streak within the same season since 2007 when the Beavers come to town.

ASU leads the all-time series against the Beavers 26-12-1, but Oregon State has won four out of the last five games between the two teams. In Tempe, the Sun Devils are 19-4 against OSU, including winning 18 of the last 19 in the Valley of the Sun.

The Devils are coming off a one point win last Saturday in Salt Lake City against the Utah Utes, and with a 5-1 record in Pac-12 play, a win Saturday against Oregon State would clearly give ASU an advantage when it comes to post-season play. Marion Grice led the Sun Devils last weekend with 136 yards rushing on 20 carries, including a 38 yard run late in the game that set up the game winning touchdown pass from Taylor Kelly to Richard Smith. With his 136 yards, Grice has now recorded 100+ all-purpose yards in 11 consecutive games for ASU.

Following Saturday's win over Utah, ASU is inching closer to its first ever Pac-12 South title, but the Beavers will do their best to stop ASU in its tracks.

In addition, Oregon State is coming off a bye week and has had extra time to prepare for Kelly and Grice.

If you haven't been following OSU, the Beavers have had a disappointing season, sitting at 6-3 but having lost its last two games to Stanford and USC.

Expect Oregon State coach, Mike Riley to have a good game plan in place for ASU, but let's face it, the Sun Devils are ridiculously good when playing in Tempe. After all, they cost then-USC coach Lane Kiffin his job after they trounced the Trojans at Sun Devil Stadium.

The Sun Devils are clearly in control of the Pac-12 South and to reach their goal of winning the Pac-12 championship, they can't let up.

"You have a tendency when you have success, everybody's kind of patting you on the back and you think you've done it, but we haven't done anything," Sun Devils coach Todd Graham said. "Win the next four games and you've done something."

After starting the season with six straight wins, the Beavers come into Tempe following two home losses, 20-12 to No. 5 Stanford and 31-14 to USC. OSU quarterback Sean Mannion was sacked eight times against the Cardinal and threw three picks against the Trojans, but Coach Mike Riley says he expects his team to bounce back after the loss to USC.

"This group will come back very strong to get ready for Arizona State," Riley said. "There is no doubt about it. This is a quality group of young men, the same men that we were winning six in a row with."

The Beavers are averaging 46.5 points per game and have gone 4-0 in road games this season.

The good news for ASU fans is that Oregon State is just 3-10 against Top 25 opponents on the road since 2008. One of those losses came two years ago in Tempe, when the No. 25 Sun Devils picked off Mannion four times in a 35-20 win.

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