When a top-10 team loses on an unranked opponent, there is plenty of blame to go around. Some may fall on the quarterback, some may fall on play-calling. Todd Graham used his weekly press conference to point the finger right back at himself.
"I got frustrated and I did not respond to the standard that we want people in our program to do that," said Graham. "There is a certain standard to how we do things and as a leader I fell short on this one."
Graham said what any good coach would say in that situation. He takes the blame off of his players and puts it on himself. It is part of the thankless job of being a head coach. When you win it is because of your players, when you lose, it falls on your shoulders.
"Why weren't we prepared? Well we thought we were prepared, we prepared how we always prepare," said Graham. "It was just not our night. That would include just about everybody. We missed some things that we normally would make. We didn't operate very well and we beat ourselves in just about every area."
The Sun Devils committed five penalties, turned the ball over twice and allowed three touchdowns over 60 yards to a mediocre (statically speaking) Oregon State offense. Not necessarily a winning formula on the road in freezing temperatures.
"We knew the situation we were going into. It was obviously cold, I did not think that would would effect us. Evidently it did," said Graham. "As the game went on there were some things that were out of our character that happened. We got really, really dumb penalties, running into the punter is something that we specify is really important for us not to do."
One example that Todd Graham pointed to specially was on an Oregon State third and eight with just over 10 minutes left in the game. Oregon State was 0-11 on third down when the Sun Devils gave up a 67-yard touchdown pass to give Oregon State a 28-27 lead.
"We made bad calls, we were 11-for-11 on third down (defensively) and I wish I could have had that last third down back," said Graham. "We ran a pressure that we haven't ran, which wasn't very smart. I took ownership, because untimely I am responsible for getting them ready. Our execution on offense specifically has not been there."
For the Sun Devils, all hope is not lost. They still have an outside shot at playing in the Pac-12 Championship game. The team is 8-2 after replacing nine starters on defense. Graham still believes there is a lot to play for.
"You move on, we talk about rising up and doing what we always do. You make mistakes, you own up to them and you move forward," said Graham. "The good news is we are 13th in the country and we have the opportunity to play for a Pac-12 championship."
Arizona State's contest against Washington state is the final home game of the season for the Sun Devils. That means it is also senior day, the last time 11 seniors will run out of the Tillman Tunnel and play at Sun Devil Stadium.
"This group of 11 guys is really, really special," said Graham. "One of the things that they have been, is a great resource to me. These guys have been so awesome to buy into a different ways of doing things. They have been great leaders to the guys who we have recruited."
Taylor Kelly, Jamil Douglas and Marcus Hardison headline the senior class. The Sun Devils have just seven seniors on the two-deep depth chart. That is the third fewest in the country, behind just Tennessee and Temple.
"Every year, senior day is very important," said Graham. "Everybody who comes here, we want them to experience graduation and senior day. What we do on senior day is we win."