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In some ways, you could argue the Arizona State Sun Devils were simply the better team on Friday in their 28-10 victory over Stanford. In other ways, you could point out ASU had better talent on either side of the ball or just made more plays than the Cardinal did throughout the course of the game. 

For a team that scored only three points in the final three quarters, Stanford sure didn't look anything like the team that upset Oregon just a week ago. 

Head coach David Shaw spoke to the media following the game, and didn't make any excuses. 

“We had some guys get injured, yes, but it has nothing to do with the outcome of the game," he said. "I think what came down to the game was execution. Offensively, we started pretty fast, defensively we did not start fast. Our defense really came on strong towards the end there in the second half and got a lot of stops and got off of the field multiple times. The offense moved the ball but didn’t score points. Quarterback, offensive line, running backs, and a couple receivers had a really nice day.

"We’ve got some really good football players that did not play up to our capabilities today. All credit to Arizona State. This was a big game with a lot of conference implications and they rose to the challenge and we did not. So, we are going to take a couple days to get off our feet and get back at it on Monday and be ready for our next challenge.”

The Sun Devils held Stanford to a total of nine net rushing yards, while also registering five sacks and holding the Cardinal to only 10 points despite Stanford's offense possessing the ball in Arizona State territory 11 times. 

"When plays don’t work, they’re bad play-calls. I’ll put that on me, so when you have bad play-calls and you lack execution that’s what happens. We got in position multiple times and then we just stalled, and it doesn’t matter if you can move the ball between the 20s," said Shaw.

"If you can't get in and score touchdowns, you are not going to win. Not in this league. Not on Friday night against a really good football team. So, defense gave the offense opportunities the entire second half. Offense did not take advantage of those, and we have to play much better.”

Defensively, it did appear Stanford did a better job in the second half of tightening its grip on Arizona State's offense, finding their defensive front more in the backfield and doing an overall better job of getting the ball back for the offense. 

Shaw said, “I just saw a great effort. We didn’t call different defenses in the second half, but our defensive line, and our linebackers in particular in that second half gave the offense plenty of opportunities. We got off the field on third down, just didn't turn those things into points. We got a turnover that got no points for us, so we have to be opportunistic on the offensive side. We have been really the last three weeks, we just were not today.

"Defensively, Arizona State, they’re big up front. We had a couple of protection issues and then we hit some big passes, but we missed some against a good football team. You can't do that.”

While the Sun Devils stand alone at the top of their division, Stanford now awaits any help possible throughout the weekend following their third loss of the season.