Tempe, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Arizona State head coach Todd Graham is already looking forward to next week.
"For the opportunity to go to UCLA and compete for the Pac-12 South Championship. We are 60 minutes away, one win away, from clinching the south. That is a big, big deal," Graham said.
First things first.
Marion Grice had 24 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns as No. 21 Arizona State defeated Oregon State, 30-17, on Saturday night.
The Sun Devils (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) are one game ahead of UCLA and USC for first place in the Pac-12 South. ASU holds the tiebreaker over the Trojans after beating them earlier this season.
Jaelen Strong caught seven balls for 106 yards, while Taylor Kelly completed 22-of-37 passes for 183 yards with two interceptions for Arizona State, which has won five straight since falling to Notre Dame on Oct. 5.
Robert Nelson had a pair of interceptions, with his second pick being returned 23 yards for a score in the triumph.
Sean Mannion was 31-of-46 for 320 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions for the Beavers (6-4, 4-3), who have dropped three consecutive tilts following a 6-1 start to the year.
"Right from the beginning, I think that we just didn't sustain anything at all, and when we found we could move the ball we'd mess it up some fashion in the second half," Oregon State Mike Riley said.
Mannion has thrown seven interceptions in his last two games.
Strong tallied 66 receiving yards on ASU's opening drive of the game before Grice plunged in from a yard out.
Kelly tossed both of his picks in the opening frame, but the Beavers were unable to capitalize on the miscues and the Sun Devils struck again late in the first quarter.
Nelson's first interception of Mannion came on a 4th-and-1 at the ASU 41 and Grice broke off a 40-yard run before D.J. Foster scampered in from eight yards out on the second to last play of the stanza. Zane Gonzalez missed the extra point.
ASU was forced to punt after failing to convert on 3rd-and-10, but the Sun Devils got the ball right back at the Beavers' 15 after Brandin Cooks muffed a punt.
Grice went in from a yard out four snaps later to make it 20-0 midway through the second.
Trevor Romaine booted through a 22-yard field goal on the final play of the half to get the Beavers on the board.
Mannion hit Connor Hamlett for a 19-yard completion down to the Sun Devils' 6 on a 4th-and-2 and Mannion flipped a 6-yard score to Caleb Smith a play later to cut the deficit to 20-10 late in the third.
Oregon State regained possession following an ASU punt, but Terron Ward was stuffed for a 5-yard loss on a 3rd-and-1 at the Sun Devils' 11. Oregon State center Isaac Seumalo was whistled for an unnecessary roughness penalty on the play to make it a 48-yard field goal attempt for Romaine, whose kick was blocked by Davon Coleman.
ASU then took the following 4:52 off the clock before Gonzalez nailed an 18- yard field goal to extend the margin to 23-10 with 5:16 left.
Nelson's pick-six on the Beavers' next offensive snap sealed the outcome.