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Sun Devils fall to No. 13 Oregon State 36-26

(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

By ANNE M. PETERSON

AP Sports Writer

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) The Sun Devils don't want to be reminded about last season.

But coming off a third straight loss, it was hard not to think about it.

Arizona State started 5-1 last season, but then went 1-6 to finish 6-7. This season the Sun Devils started 5-1, but they've lost consecutive games to Oregon, UCLA and, most recently, Oregon State.

"We're frustrated and we know the feeling, having gone through this last year," running back Cameron Marshall said. "We haven't given up on the season or anything. We know there's still a lot to play for."

The Sun Devils (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12) took a quick 14-3 lead over the No. 13 Beavers on Saturday night, but couldn't maintain the momentum and lost 36-26.

"Their defense dominated our offense, then we gave up big plays on our defense," coach Todd Graham said. "Those are things you can't do."

It was Arizona State's fourth straight loss in Corvallis.

Cody Vaz recovered from a shaky start to throw for 267 yards and three touchdowns for the Beavers (7-1, 5-1), while Terron Ward rushed for 146 yards and a score.

Arizona State scored on the return after Vaz fumbled on Oregon State's opening drive, but the Beavers pulled away after a 19-all tie at the half to keep the Sun Devils from bowl eligibility.

A fan in the crowd held a sign reading "We're All BelieVaz" for the junior quarterback who was awarded the start after Sean Mannion struggled the week before with four interceptions in a loss to Washington.

Vaz had started two games for the Beavers and won them both while Mannion recovered from left knee surgery. Mannion, a sophomore, started the Beavers' first four games and averaged 339 yards passing, but was off when he returned in the 20-17 loss to the Huskies.

Vaz's night started poorly when he lost the ball on Oregon State's 1 on the opening drive and Arizona State defensive end Junior Onyeali returned it for the touchdown to give the Sun Devils the early lead.

Vaz appeared unsure of himself, but the Beavers' next drive ended with Trevor Romaine's 41-yard field goal. Arizona State answered with Cameron Marshall's 1-yard scoring run for a 14-3 lead.

After Vaz got back on track and hit Markus Wheaton with a 50-yard scoring pass, Arizona State got a safety on a blocked punt for a 16-10 lead. The Sun Devils added a 31-yard field goal from Jon Mora.

Ward's 53-yard TD run narrowed it again for Oregon State and the Beavers tied it at 19 going into halftime on Romaine's 45 yard field goal.

Vaz came out of the break looking steadier, and opened with a scoring drive that ended with a 17-yard TD pass to Wheaton as the Beavers pulled in front 26-19. Romaine tied his career high with his third field goal, a 33-yarder, later in the third quarter.

Vaz found Brandin Cooks with a 49-yard scoring pass to make it 36-19 with 10:54 left. In the end, Vaz completed 14 of 33 passes. He was intercepted once and sacked six times.

Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Marion Grice with 22 seconds remaining. Kelly finished with 153 yards passing, a touchdown and an interception.

"We're disappointed, but I've got great confidence in our guys," Kelly said. "They've got great character when things hit the fan."

Arizona State saw the return of defensive tackle Will Sutton, considered one of the top defensive players in the Pac-12. He missed Arizona State's last game after injuring his right knee early in the Sun Devils' 43-21 loss to Oregon on Oct. 18.

The loss to the Ducks was the first of two straight at home for Arizona State after a three-game winning streak. Then the Sun Devils fell 45-43 to UCLA last weekend.

Updated November 4, 2012

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