ASU has been teasing us these last two weeks. Against two very capable ranked opponents in Wisconsin and Oregon respectively, the Sun Devils have played 6 quarters of great football. The Devils defense held both teams to well below their season averages and kept each team off the field for significant amounts of time. However in two games 8 quarters of football must be played. And unfortunately in both games, the Devils were able to make the plays necessary in the 4th quarters to continue their transformation into a truly successful team.
This week versus Oregon State the Sun Devils have the opportunity to get over the hump.
ASU’s quarterback Steven Threet comes into this game tops in the Pac-10 conference, and fifth nationally for passing yards. The Devils offense is operating at a much higher rate than before, however it’s a few key mistakes (aka interceptions) made by Threet that have them 2-2 instead of 4-0. But head coach Dennis Erickson is worried. In fact, he is a bit encouraged. He knows that the mistakes made by Threet are simply his attempts to move the offense down the field aggressively instead of settling for check downs and hand-offs to the running backs. But in order to get over the hump Threet must understand the importance of throwing the ball away. Saturday versus Oregon State, a pretty explosive offense itself, Threet must make sure to get the ball down the field but also be smart when he doesn’t have the options he would like. This is Threet’s time according to former ASU QB Andrew Walter, and he believes his knowledge and understanding of the offense will get Threet on track quickly.
The most important part of this game for ASU is defense. With the explosive power of the Rodgers brothers, James and Jacquizz, the defense must make sure to be aware of the short yardage plays that can become big-time plays. Not only must the front four be ready, the linebacking core and secondary must be prepared for possibilities to get the Rodgers big yards down the field.
Erickson’s former team, though 1-2, has proven themselves to be a tough opponent with close losses to #3 Boise State and #5 TCU. “They’re a quality team,” says Erickson. “They were picked very high by many people going into this season, and I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be.” Erickson knows this is a top-tier Pac-10 squad. They play at a high level on both sides of the ball, and are also poised to make a big splash in the conference regardless of their record.
This is a key game for the Sun Devils. This is a chance to prove the preseason naysayers wrong. This is their opportunity to take it to the next level.
About the Author
Written by Leslie Charles
Passionate sports diva with a love for Arizona State University that goes beyond no other. Go DEVILS!!!!!