After the sky fell in Tempe following our loss to UCLA, ASU marched into the Coliseum and, to quote the great Harry Dunne, totally redeemed themselves. But the two week long Jaelen Gras celebration is over and the Devils must be ready with the Gatorade and Advil if they hope to avoid a hangover against the Cardinal. The Cardinal come into this game as a team in total disarray. An early season loss to their California counterparts USC and falling to rival Notre Dame about a week ago has left the team wondering if they can compete in a very good PAC-12 North. Arizona State looks to avenge a pair of drubbings they received at the hand of the Cardinal last year, one of which cost them a trip to the Rose Bowl. Without further adieu, let's get after it.
Will Taylor Kelly play? CTG was quoted as saying, "We expect him to play," then backtracked on it saying, "I think Mike will play, too." What does all this mean? 1. CTG sometimes likes to hear himself talk. 2. Taylor's status has changed one bit. No one's seen the kid practice with the first or second team, but has "during the closed part of practice" according to Sweeney Todd. Yes Mr. Graham, where there's smoke, there's fire... but you can't tell everyone you smell smoke and make fire magically appear. If a
day drinking delinquentaspiring sportswriter like myself can see through that smokescreen (who likes fire idioms?), David Shaw didn't waste one practice rep on TK10 prep.
- Speaking of David Shaw, he's still not clear on the concept of scoring inside the 25, as they are 118th in FBS in red zone scoring percentage. Fellow cellar dwellers in that department? UConn (1-5), Kent State (0-6), Tulsa (1-5), and Tulane (2-4). For a team called the Cardinal, they're not great in the RED zone. Sorry... I'll... I'll see myself out.
To be fair to dear friend David Shaw, "Director of Offense" (seriously, that's his title) Mike Bloomgren doesn't have the offense clicking, well, anywhere on the field. The Cardinal are 81st in total offense, 59th in passing, and that retro B1G 3 yards and a cloud of dust running game? 82nd in the FBS. To put this all in perspective,
BrookeKevin Hogan is only 6 spots ahead of Bercovici on the passing yards per game list, despite starting four more games. Let's just say the offense isn't what we'll have to worry about this time around.
- "So how does this team win anything?" Only allowing 238 yards per game, that's how. Defense does win championships and suddenly, last year's PAC-12 championship win seems much more reasonable.
- Speaking of defense, the Sun Devils have given up 493, 580, and 545 yards over their past 3 games. Any games we win going forward will be shootouts, as opposed to shutouts. It's crazy how a teams entire philosophy and winning strategy can turn on it's head in just a year. Football is funny like that.
- One bit of good news regarding protecting our endzone: Damarious Randall currently leads the nation in solo tackles per game at 9.4, with second place a full tackle off his pace. Seemingly forgotten among the slow developing youth, Randall has made a stellar impact on this defense, despite only landing on campus two years ago.
- Barry Sanders Jr is the one bad, bad man Sun Devil fans should worry about come Saturday. Despite having twenty less caries, he's only 43 yards short of being the leading Cardinal rusher, also sporting an impressive 7.6 yards per carry. Plus, I hear his dad was like a really good football player or something. If OC Bloomgren would like to keep that fancy title of his, he'd be advised to give Baby Barry the ball more often.
- Cardinal Fun Fact: "During Full Moon on the Quad, freshmen are kissed at midnight by seniors under the first full moon of the Autumn Quarter." This is also how the male majority of Stanford's senior class get their first kiss. Most nerds have to wait until they sell their first internet start-up. Stanford School of Social Innovation is right!
- On the "Don't Do Anything If You Don't Look Good Doing It Front," ASU hasn't announced the uniform combo for Saturday yet, but considering it's called the #MaroonMonsoon, expect a copious amount of maroon. @SunDevilEquipment did say they had a surprise for us though... yes @KittyKatDeee, a tease indeed. Oh and Stanford will wear those old news, all white uniforms. Yawn, bring the black ones back.
- Ever wondered why the Cardinal have a tree as their mascot? Well... "Stanford's team name is "Cardinal," referring to the vivid red color (not the common song bird as at several other schools), and the university has never been able to come up with an official mascot." If you're wrong, the Golden Bears get a chance to steal. SHOW ME "LACK OF CREATIVITY"
Hopefully, in the last game of our PAC-12 interconference murderer's row, we can finish it up with a solid W and cement our place at the top of the PAC-12 South. A win here may knock Stanford completely out of the PAC-12 Championship picture, something all Sun Devils fans should root for. They had our number every time we played last season, let's hope time's have changed. Have a good, safe weekend everyone and most importantly, go Devils!