TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — With Saturday’s business taken care of, Oregon State can finally talk about next week’s rivalry game against Oregon.
Led by Damien Martinez’s 138 yards and two touchdowns, the 25th-ranked Beavers easily handled Arizona State 31-7 on Saturday.
Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said after the game that he was “trying to get on the airplane” before thinking about the 12th-ranked Ducks, who visit Corvallis next week.
Linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold had no hesitation, though: “I’ve been thinking about the Ducks (since) before the season. We’re ready for that.” Mascarenas-Arnold was part of a defense that held the Sun Devils to 60 yards of offense in the second half Saturday.
The Beavers (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12) had several injuries, particularly on defense, and had lost 19 of their last 20 games at Arizona State — winning only in 2009 in the last 50 years.
“It was a challenge, but also I think guys were excited,” Smith said of his team. “I was confident that these guys had the right approach. We got some veterans on that side of the ball.”
Martinez scored a touchdown on Oregon State’s first drive. After Arizona State tied the game on Xazavian Valladay’s 11-yard run with 1:53 left in the half, the Beavers went 75 yards in four plays, two of them passes from Ben Gulbrandson to a wide-open Jack Velling. The first went for 35 yards, the last for 21 and a touchdown just 45 seconds after the Sun Devils scored.
Oregon State got the ball to start the second half and marched 83 yards in 10 plays, with Martinez running it in from 12 yards. After Arizona State failed to convert on fourth-and-9 from Oregon State’s 41-yard line, the Beavers sealed it with Gulbrandson scoring from 8 yards a quarterback draw on third-and-goal, making it 28-7 with 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
Martinez has gained at least 100 yards in five straight games, the longest team rushing streak since Stephen Jackson in 2003.
“We talk about that (among the running backs),” Martinez said. “After contact, it’s ‘keep your legs running, keep your head down.’”
Smith said the freshman back is “physical. He won’t go down easy … he’s getting to the line, guys are starting to hang, he’s making guys miss, he’s pushing the pile, he’s finishing runs.”
Gulbrandson finished 15 of 21 for 188 yards.
Valladay finished with 109 yards in 13 rushes for the Sun Devils (3-8, 2-6), who played their final home game of the season. They fell to 2-6 under interim coach Shaun Aguano, who replaced Herm Edwards on Sept. 20.
“We played a disappointing game in all phases,” Aguano said. “We played hard, but it was just a huge disappointment.”
Trent Bourguet, who came out of last week’s loss at Washington State with a leg injury, started at quarterback for the Sun Devils and was 20 of 32 for 122 yards. He ran eight times for 26 yards.
Gulbrandson has thrown for 1,005 yards and eight TDs with one interception and two rushing touchdowns since replacing injured starter Chance Nolan (neck) for the Beavers’ last six games. OSU is 5-1 in those games.
“I thought he was really good,” Smith said. “Threw it well, made good decisions, (we) protected him for the most part. I thought it was one of his better games.
“We threw it early, he prepares well, recognized the coverage. Ben was efficient and played with great effort.”
Oregon State: The Beavers, already bowl-eligible, won as a ranked team for the first time since 2012. They’ll likely stay in the poll for next week’s rivalry game in Corvallis.
Arizona State: One game left, then the search for a new coach likely begins. “It’s all about pride,” Aguano said of the game against Arizona, also finishing its season next week.
Oregon State: Hosts No. 12 Oregon on Saturday.
Arizona State: Plays at Arizona on Friday.
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