Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Taking A Closer Look at Arizona State

Last season saw the 7-6 Arizona State Sun Devils went to the Emerald Bowl where they lost to Florida State. The result was the firing of coach Dirk Koetter, and the hiring of Dennis Erikson, who brings a 148- 65- 1 record.

The offense is aggressive, featuring quick passes, the shotgun and a power running game. QB Rudy Carpenter doesn't have wheels, but is aided by good health, better coaching, and the shotgun formation. ASU's game plan is to focus on running first, which takes some pressure off the QB. Carpenter was supposed to be protected by an experienced frontline, but the results have been mixed so far as the Sun Devils seem very vulnerable to blitzing packages. RB Ryan Torrain is one of the conferences best running backs. He has the potential to tear off quite a few yards. The receivers are for the most part are adequate. Although they can make catches, there's no established go-to guy for big plays or third down conversions.

ASU likes to play aggressive get in your face man coverage on defense, which helps the Sun Devils take away the run, but also can result in some big pass plays if the opponent can hit on them. Washington needs to attack their defensive backfield, and have some success to open up the run. The Devils are aggressive on defense, and they take chances. Washington needs to identify those opportunities.

Comparing Statistics

If you were handicapping this game by past statistics you can understand why Vegas has opened with ASU as a ten point favorite. The Devils are at home, Washington is struggling on offense, and they haven't stopped the run, or got pressure on the QB. The Huskies also have trouble against man defenses, the Sun Devils have better numbers in most statistical categories, so who do you think they are going to pick?

UW is 9th in Pac Ten scoring offense averaging 27 points per game which is about at TD more than they scored last season. Oregon, Cal, USC, and ASU are all scoring over 35 points per game.

On defense the Huskies are seventh giving up 27.5 per game. ASU has been giving up only 14 points a game this season. The Huskies are dead last in passing averaging only 172 yards per game, and a 51% completion rate. WSU, Arizona, lead the league at over 300 yards per game. ASU is a surprising third averaging 265 yards per game.

The Huskies are third in the conference in pass defense while ASU is just ahead of them in second. The Huskies are eighth in total defense giving up 416 yards per game.

ASU averages 157 yards on the ground per game, while Washington averages 160. The Huskies are rated tenth in rushing defense giving up 187 per game. ASU on the other hand has only given up 80 per game.

UW is last in total offense in the conference averaging only 332 yards per game against some pretty good defenses. ASU has been averaging around 432.

UW is last in time of possession in the conference at only 27.14 minutes per game. ASU is first holding onto the ball 33:46 minutes per game. Jake Locker is the seventh leading rusher in the Pac Ten. ASU's Ryan Torrain is fifth and headed for a thousand yard season. Locker at 82 yards per game is on track to do that in a 13 game season. Locker is fourth in total offense. ASU's Rudy Carpenter is sixth. Rudy is also second in passing efficiency with a 162, while Jake is last with 103.2.

Backtalk with Nathan Ware

Nathan, and I discuss what is on each others mind each Tuesday in the PI.

Everything about Arizona State

ASU's Tempe campus lies in the heart of Tempe, Arizona. The campus is considered urban, and is approximately 580 acres in size. The Tempe campus sits next to Tempe Town Lake and crosses University Drive. It is defined by its borders on Apache Blvd, Rural Road, and Mill Avenue. Against the northwest edge of campus is the Mill Avenue district, which has a college atmosphere that attracts many students to its restaurants and bars.

As of 2006, the ASU Tempe campus is the second-largest university campus in terms of student enrollment in the United States, with a student body of 51,234. There are plans to grow to more than 90,000 students by 2020.

The Arizona State Sun Devils are a major college football program that competes in NCAA Division I-A and the Pacific Ten Conference.

The Sun Devils had their greatest success in the 1960's and 1970's under head coach Frank Kush. In that 21-year stretch, they compiled a 176-54-1 record, putting Arizona State on the college football map. From 1969 to 1971, the team put together a school-record 21-game winning streak. The team plays its home games at Sun Devil Stadium, which currently has a capacity of 73,379.

Arizona State has played in 23 bowls in its history and owns a 12-10-1 record in those games. Among the most common bowls its played in are the Fiesta Bowl (six times) and the Sun Bowls (four times). The team has currently gone to three consecutive bowl games, and eight in the last 12 seasons.

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