Oklahoma State, Arizona State coaches want better play despite opening wins

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Oklahoma State and Arizona State will meet Saturday in Tempe, Ariz., and both coaches want to see marked improvements after struggles in their season openers at home last week.

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Arizona State defeated Southern Utah 24-21 in a game that ended at 1:01 a.m. local time after it was delayed nearly three hours because of lightning.

Oklahoma State led Central Arkansas 13-7 entering the fourth quarter before pulling away to a 27-13 victory.

“Defensively, there are things that we felt could happen in this game and they didn’t,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “I told you that I was worried about tackling. So, we have to really work hard this week on ways to improve tackling. It’s not going to fix itself in one week.”

Central Arkansas finished with 391 yards in total offense compared to 453 for Oklahoma State.

Gundy used the non-conference opener to play three quarterbacks extensively against Central Arkansas — Garret Rangel, Gunnar Gundy and Alan Bowman — to help determine his best option.

They combined to complete 30 of 48 passes for 304 yards

Gunnar Gundy, the coach’s son, played the final three drives of the game.

After a three-and-out, he engineered consecutive touchdown drives. He completed 7 of 9 pass attempts for 106 yards. He also ran twice for 20 yards.

“It just looks a little odd being three people, but they all three played pretty well,” Mike Gundy said. “We’re going to practice all three of them. Distribute reps based on what we think it should be, the way they played.”

Arizona State freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada completed 18 of 31 pass attempts for 236 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against Southern Utah.

The offense struggled in the second half, however. The Sun Devils were limited to a 38-yard field goal by Dario Longhetto in the fourth quarter.

“In the second half, (Rashada) just couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham said. “His eyes were right and he was throwing the ball where it was supposed to be, but he couldn’t get in a rhythm.

“We have to do a better job to make sure we have plays that can get him in a better rhythm. That’s on me.”

—Field Level Media

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