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ASU Football: Gameday roundtable vs. Oregon State

Trap game? Cold-weather letdown? Our staff discusses.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

It's the last out-of-state road game of the season, and it's going to be cold. The Sun Devils will be in their all-white stormtrooper jerseys, so it might very well look like Hoth out there. Our staff takes a look at the weather, and if this will turn into the trap game some are expecting.

Justin Emerson: Managing Editor (@J15Emerson)
Nick Krueger: Managing Editor (@NickPKrueger)
Jason Galvin: Columnist (@Jason_Galvin)
Ryan Bafaloukos: Staff writer (@RyanBafo)

All the talk this week is about this being a trap game. How does Arizona State stay focused and take care of business?
Emerson: By Todd Graham doing what Todd Graham does. I look at last year's Arizona game, where the Pac-12 South was already wrapped up, but his squad still came out and dome wrecked the Wildcats. I see this as similar, but the stakes are even bigger. There won't be a letdown.

Krueger: Teams that win championships, programs that win championships, don't let games like this fall through the cracks. Honestly I think it all comes down to just having the right attitude about the game. If this team recognizes it's a trap game (which it does) then it becomes less of an issue in my mind.

Galvin: Well I think it's pretty simple. All they have to do is look at the playoff rankings. A loss ends your season, essentially, as you'd no longer be a contender for the playoff and the Pac-12 South would also be doubtful. If that's not motivation enough, ASU is in trouble.

Bafaloukos: I have a lot of faith in Todd Graham and the coaching staff that they will have this team prepared to play. The only game I can remember Arizona State losing when they were supposed to win was the Holiday Bowl last year. The fact is, this team does not overlook inferior opponents and I believe they will be ready to play. The key for Arizona State will be to jump on the Beavers early and take care of the football.

The game time temperature is expected to be in the high 20s. How will the Sun Devils handle the cold?
Emerson: That's the one thing I'm worried about. Oregon State will be more acclimated to the cold, and it's been awhile since an Arizona State team has won in Corvallis. I'd say the run game gets featured a little more, but all in all, it won't be a huge difference.

Krueger: A few hits might hurt a little more, but if they handled the wind in Washington, they can handle the cold. Put some heaters on the sidelines, wear long sleeves, do whatever is necessary to keep warm and they should be fine.

Galvin: I'm guessing they'll wear long sleeves.

Bafaloukos: I think it helps that Taylor Kelly is from Idaho and has played in plenty of cold games in high school (at least I would assume he has). The position that the cold tends to affect the most is the quarterback and how the ball is gripped. I would expect to see Arizona State run the ball more and on defense it is just about keeping your footing, I do not expect it to have a major impact.

The secondary had a tremendous game against Notre Dame. Do you expect the same against the Beavers?
Emerson: Absolutely. Somewhere along the road the defense got really good, and the secondary is leading the way. Especially against a struggling Beaver quarterback in the cold, where quarterbacks typically struggle, I can see a pick party in the Arizona

Krueger: Sean Mannion is having a rough go of it this season. I expect maybe one interception so not close to what we saw in the Notre Dame game. I do expect something similar with blitzing though and being able to get to Mannion in the backfield. The Sun Devils should record at least another four sacks.

Galvin: Yes. The secondary is the strength of this defense now. Damarious Randall is quickly developing into the second-best safety in the conference. The trio of corners aren't making mistakes. And Jordan Simone continues to prove that Todd Graham's theory of high character, hard working players trump all is a good one.

Bafaloukos: I think this defense as a whole will have a good game against Oregon State. The Beavers are nothing special on offense and their passing game has yet to makeup for the loss of Brandin Cooks. Sean Mannion has only thrown for 10 touchdowns and Oregon State ranks 11th in the conference in scoring offense.

DJ Foster returned to form in a big way last week. How important is he going forward?
Emerson: Arizona State won't beat a playoff team without a running game. It will be able to finish off the rest of the regular season without him at full force, but come the Pac-12 title game, he might be the most important player on the field.

Krueger: The development of Demario Richard means the load is off Foster's shoulders a little more, especially in games like this. In the bigger moments, Foster will still be counted on when it matters most.

Galvin: Instrumental. Taylor Kelly is great, but he can't do it alone. Foster opens the field up for the receivers who can't handle double and triple coverage (so everyone not named Strong) to work, and he also opens running lanes for Kelly. The offense takes a 180 when Foster is on his game.

Bafaloukos: I don't think he is any less important than Jaelen Strong or Taylor Kelly. Foster is just so versatile that he helps the offense in so many ways. I actually think Strong is more important to the Arizona State offense, look at how the unit fared when Strong was cramping last week.

Give me your final score and one other prediction about the game.
Emerson: Arizona State 52, Oregon State 21. The Sun Devils have three interceptions.

Krueger: Arizona State 38, Oregon State 24. The score is within three points at halftime.

Galvin: 48-20 Sun Devils. D.J. Foster rushed for 150 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Bafaloukos: Arizona State 41, Oregon State 24. The Sun Devils score a defensive touchdown.