Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona
By TYLER LOCKMAN  |  Last updated 10/27/13
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The last time Arizona State traveled to Pullman, Wash., to play Washington State, its season began to unravel. The Sun Devils had a week earlier let the chance to clinch the Pac-12 South slip away against UCLA. They were still in position to win the division but lost to the 3-6 Cougars in the second of five straight losses to close out the 2011 season. Two years later and once again in the driver's seat in the South, ASU travels to Pullman on Thursday looking to rewrite its history there and bury some bad memories. "Same position," senior cornerback Osahon Irabor said Sunday. "We have a new attitude as a team, we're a lot more focused as a group, we're a lot closer and we understand the goal that's ahead of us. "We're going to Pullman to get a win. That's it." Certainly much has changed since that last trip to Pullman that saw the Sun Devils lose 37-27 in rain, snow and near-freezing temperatures. Todd Graham took over the program last season. Many of the players on that 2011 team are gone. New leaders are holding teammates accountable. But while ASU moved on from the loss long ago, the memory of the game itself and everything that happened after still stings. "That's always going to be a bad memory," senior tight end Chris Coyle said. "That's probably one of the worst games I've ever played in in my life. At least for the guys that have been here, it's a bad memory." A few things stick out to veterans who were part of that 2011 loss to the Cougars, who were then coached by Paul Wulff. For Coyle, it's mental errors, a lack of preparation and the bitter cold weather. The cold has come up more than once already, which Graham seems to take exception to. "That's an excuse," Graham said. "That was an excuse for playing like crap. I wasn't here, and I shouldn't comment on that, but that's all that is. That's all it is." Players admit that they let the weather affect them in ways they should not have and have learned from the experience. "Being one of the older guys, one of the senior leaders, I'm going to make sure that all the guys aren't worried about that, aren't thinking about that," Irabor said. Players have also admitted there was a significant lack of focus on the 2011 trip. Veteran players have made it their mission this week to eliminate any such problems. Coyle said preparation for the trip to Pullman has been markedly different from what it was two years ago. Coaches have emphasized different things, and on Sunday the offense practiced with crowd noise blaring over a speaker system. "These coaches understand what happened last time, and they don't want it to happen again," Coyle said. With a win over Washington State on Thursday, ASU would remain in pole position in the South. With a loss, it would likely fall into a first-place tie and have no margin for error with two conference losses already. Hence the desire to make a better memory in Pullman than the one that lingers today. But as much as the upperclassmen still remember what the loss felt like, they are more focused on getting a win this time around. To do that, perhaps it's best they don't even think about their past failure in Pullman. "You have to forget," defensive tackle Will Sutton said. "I feel like it's a new season, a new team. You can't control what happened in the past. So whatever happened that year is forgotten." EXTRA POINTS -- For the third time this season, ASU is back in the Associated Press poll, coming in at No. 25 after a bye week. The Sun Devils have been ranked as high as 22nd this season. -- Receiver Jaelen Strong did more in practice Sunday than he did last week but appears to still be battling the ankle injury suffered against Washington. His status for Thursday's game is not yet known. -- Running back D.J. Foster returned to practice Sunday after not participating last week due to an unknown injury. -- After ASU's bye week, running back Marion Grice remains the nation's leading scorer (15.4 points per game), and placekicker Zane Gonzalez has moved into second nationally (11.4 points per game).
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker