Before the season started there was a lot buzz about Arizona St. Many thought ASU could be the team to beat in the Pac-12 South.
Dennis Erickson put together a NASTY defense led by former USC commit Vontaze Burfict. The offense led by QB Brock Osweiler has a lot of promise as long if he can stay upright.
ASU has some of the same issues that have plagued USC, namely stupid penalties, ASU committed eight penalties for 91 yards against Illinois.
Of course the guy all USC fans keep an eye on is Burfict. USC taunted him last year until he committed a stupid penalty that led to a score. The question is simple, has Burfict learned his lesson and become more patient? Burfict had nine tackles against Illinois. Hard to argue that the kid is a beast and that he will be a top draft pick when he heads to the league, but he's not there yet.
The ASU O-Line has some issues. With Simmons not in the line up last Saturday that side of the line got exposed.
Entering the Illinois contest, the Sun Devils had allowed just one sack in two games. Saturday, they gave up six. Right guard Andrew Sampson had a particularly harsh day, drawing three penalties, two false starts and a holding call.
ASU should have won that game last week but missed opportunities and dumb penalties were the prime culprits...ASU fans have seen this before.
While fans may have their doubt, junior quarterback Brock Osweiler believes the loss to Illinois was not the true Sun Devil football team.
"I’m not concerned about that at all," Osweiler said when asked if Saturday’s loss was a sign of reverting to old habits. "I have a pretty strong gut feeling that we’re going to take care of those mistakes and clean them up."
It may be reassuring for some to hear confidence spewing from the quarterback, but the mistakes cannot be ignored.
USC fans know all about stupid penalties and missed opportunities.
Don't be fooled though, ASU can score some points, they have some weapons...
PFEELING THE PFLOW: Aaron Pflugrad had a night to remember against Missouri. The senior wide out tied a career-high with eight catches and set a new career-high with 180 yards. He also scored two touchdowns for the second straight week. In the three games this season, Pflugrad has totaled 18 receptions for 305 yards and four TDs. Entering the 2011 season, he had 576 yards and three touchdowns in his career.
MR. VERSATILE: Jamal Miles has done a little bit of everything this 2011 season. In the opener against UC Davis, he returned a kickoff 98-yards for a touchdown. Against Missouri, he put on a touchdown clinic, catching two touchdown passes, including the game-winner in overtime, and threw a touchdown pass. It was the first touchdown pass of his career on his second career completion.
RUNNING FOR MILES: Jamal Miles returned his second career kickoff for a touchdown against UC Davis, bringing it back 98 yards. It was the second consecutive game in Sun Devil Stadium Miles has returned a kick for a score, as he had a 99-yarder in last season’s home finale against UCLA. Miles joins teammate Omar Bolden, Terry Battle and Whizzer White as the only Sun Devils in school history with two career kickoff return touchdowns. It was the sixth kickoff return for touchdown the Sun Devils have had since Dennis Erickson took over as head coach in 2007, the most under one coach in school history.
ASU has seen a number of key injuries since training camp right up through this past week.
DE Brandon Magee - Achillies
CB Omar Bolden - Knee
DE Junior Onyeali - Knee
RT Aderious Simmons - Ankle
WR TJ Simpson - Knee
Going to be an interesting game!