There were a lot of takeaways for the Arizona State Sun Devils following their 41-27 loss to the Oregon Ducks. The main focus from coach Dennis Erickson was on defensive penalties in the first half and sense of blown opportunities. Quarterback Brock Owseiler talked about offensive players "trying to break out of things we normally do and kind of do something on your own".
One discussion point for fans and media after the game, however, was coach Dennis Erickson's decision to punt the ball on fourth down with his team down 14 points with under 8 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
As Erickson remembered it, his team was near their own 25-yard line facing a 4th down conversion attempt that was too risky. If it was 4th and 1, he said he would have gone for it but facing a longer situation with the ball where it was he felt a failure to convert would have ended the Sun Devils chances.
On the replay (available at ESPN 3), we can see after Osweiler ran 14 yards on 3rd and 16 that about 10 seconds ran off the play clock before the punt unit came on facing a 4th and 2 at the ASU 32. There was no urgency in getting set and the clock expired right as the snap was made. The five-yard delay of game pushed it back to 4th and 7 at the ASU 27 and the Sun Devils punted.
The Sun Devils defense did get the stop after the punt but only after Oregon ran 3:13 off the clock. ASU got the ball back on their five and drove 87 yards in 3:37 before the drive ended with Jamal Miles dropping a sure touchdown in the end zone which ended up in the hands of the Duck defender and essentially ended the game.
Take what you will from Erickson's explanation. It was his call to make and ultimately, that one decision didn't decide the game.