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Saturday, September 10, 2011
Halftime: Arizona State 16, Missouri 10

By Ted Miller

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State leads Missouri 16-10 in a first half that featured big plays and plenty of penalties.

Stat of the half: Lots of great football plays have been slowed down by yellow hankies for both teams. Missouri had six penalties for 66 yards, while Arizona State had five for 45. Hopefully, things are cleaner after the break.

Best player(s) in the half: The quarterbacks were outstanding. Arizona State's Brock Osweiler completed 11-of-14 for 229 yards -- a robust 16.4 yards per completion -- with two TDs. He also rushed for 13. Missouri's James Franklin completed 12-of-15 for 118 yards and rushed 11 times for 44 yards and a TD.

Best call: On the first play from scrimmage after Missouri tied the count 10-10, Sun Devils offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone dialed up a perfect deep pass as Aaron Pflugrad beat Kip Edwards for a 60-yard TD. Osweiler has a nice touch on the deep ball. Guess here is we'll see the Sun Devils regularly take shots deep downfield throughout the season.

What Arizona State needs to do: Missouri's best play on offense is Franklin scrambling from pressure and either running or buying himself more time. He throws well on the run. So the Sun Devils need to find a way to contain him and get a few good knocks on him. On offense, the key is staying aggressive. On their last possession of the first half, they had a first down on the Missouri 35-yard line. They ran up the middle twice and got stuffed and failed to convert on third and long. Osweiler was in such a rhythm, two consecutive runs didn't make much sense (of course, they had worked it would have been brilliant). Finally, the Sun Devils need to close the deal. They've been close before and lost it in the fourth. How will they react when the screws tighten?