KERRY SAYS: Needy Sun Devils have the edge
Arizona State (5-5 overall, 4-3 in Pac-12 play) has a lot to play for Saturday when it visits Reser Stadium to face Oregon State.
The Sun Devils need a win either Saturday or the following Saturday against arch-rival Arizona to secure a bowl bid. They'd much rather wrap things up in Corvallis than leave it to the Duel in the Desert.
Oregon State (1-9, 0-7) just wants a win against anybody, including Little Sisters of the Poor.
Arizona State holds victories over Washington, Utah and Colorado. The Devils have also lost to San Diego State, Texas Tech and UCLA.
Junior quarterback Manny Wilkins — who has thrown for 2,588 yards and 12 touchdowns with only four interceptions — ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in passing yardage. He's a good one.
Receiver N'Keal Harry is a great one. The 6-4, 215-pound sophomore ranks second in the conference in receptions (66) and receiving yardage (889). Cohort Kyle Williams, a 5-10, 180-pound sophomore, has hauled in 53 passes for 609 yards.
The running backs in ASU's balanced offensive attack are 5-10, 220-pound senior Demario Richard (693 yards and seven TDs) and 6-3, 230-pound senior Kalen Ballage (518 yards and five TDs).
The Devils had 584 yards total offense in a 44-37 loss to UCLA last Saturday — 294 rushing, 290 passing. Of course, the Bruins piled up 573 yards total offense and scored seven more points.
This might be a game where Oregon State can mount more of an aerial attack. ASU does not have a strong pass defense, ranking 11th in the Pac-12 while yielding 275.4 yards per game.
The Beavers will try to establish the run game first. Junior tailback Ryan Nall needs to average 136.5 yards in last two games to get to 1,000. He'd love to take a long first step toward that Saturday.
OSU's best player, senior linebacker Manase Hungalu, left late in last Saturday's loss at Arizona with a rib injury. If he can't play, that would be a major loss for the Beavers.
Arizona State's history in November in Corvallis is not good. The Sun Devils have lost in their last four trips there during the cold-weather month. The last time they tasted victory there was in 1996, when Jerry Pettibone was running the wishbone at OSU.
The weather forecast for Saturday, however, isn't bad — partly cloudy, a high of 52 degrees with only a 10-percent chance of rain. Those Devils got lucky.
THE PICK: Arizona State 37, Oregon State 27