clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Talking ASU Football with House of Sparky

NCAA Football: California at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils were projected by many outlets to finish in the bottom half of the Pac-12 Standings. Well, through the first month of the season, the Sun Devils are undefeated at 4-0 with two key wins over Cal and Texas Tech. We talked with Connor Pelton and Kaelen Jones from House of Sparky about the red-hot Sun Devils.

1) ASU was projected to finish near the bottom of the conference this year, what's been their key to success?

Kaelen Jones: The Sun Devils have been able to make the second half adjustments necessary to outmatch their opponents following halftime. The key, at least offensively, has been the ability of the offensive line to outperform opposing defensive linemen deep into contests, along with quarterback Manny Wilkins’ notably improved play as games wear on.

2) Evaluate Manny Wilkins first four games as starting QB?

Connor Pelton: Wilkins has really impressed me, or at the very least outperformed all of my expectations. He carries himself like a second or third-year starter in the pocket and appears to have mastered offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey's simple but high-octane offense. With that said, it's easy to look good against defenses like the ones thrown out by Northern Arizona, Texas Tech, and UTSA. USC is going to be a big test for him and will show everyone a lot about just how much he's matured.

3) The Sun Devils have a monster duo at running back with Ballage and Richard. Is this as talented of a duo at RB as they have had in awhile?

Kaelen Jones: I would argue from a standpoint of natural talent and potential, this is comparable to the backfield duo of Marion Grice and DJ Foster, which was the backfield pairing before Grice graduated in 2014. I don’t think they’ve yet to achieve or fully realize their potential because of how similar they are and the fact they have to split touches, but at the same time I believe they complement each other well.

4) Who are some players to watch on defense on Saturday?

4. Connor Pelton: I’ll give you two - De'Chavon 'Gump' Hayes and Koron Crump. Hayes, who is quickly becoming the team's top defensive back, is the only Sun Devil with multiple interceptions through four games. And then there's the Devil-backer Crump, who is second in the conference in sacks after a two sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery night on Saturday against California. He's going to make life tough on Sam Darnold and that Trojan offensive line.

5) Is the "Jael Mary" play still talked about a lot on campus?

Kaelen Jones: “Jael Mary” will never be forgotten by the students who were attending the school when it happened. If anything, the state of Arizona will never forget the name Jaelen; I get called that at least once a week (not exaggerating) on accident by cashiers. Even during media sessions, I’d say that most storylines are being centered around what happened two years ago, as opposed to the whipping ASU suffered last season.

6) X-factor and prediction.

Connor Pelton: To me, this game boils down to Arizona State's performance inside the red zone. If USC is able to force the Sun Devils into field goals instead of touchdowns, it's going to be awfully tough to escape the Coliseum with an upset against a pissed off Trojan team. I'll take USC, 24-20.

Kaelen Jones: I think that it comes down to what USC’s front seven, which includes Cameron Smith, is able to do against the ASU offense. Smith dismantled Utah’s RPO stuff which includes much quicker players than ASU’s QB-RB combo. I’d it finishes 38-32, USC.