The USC Trojans look to bounce back after their brutal defeat last week in South Bend, going up against a confident Arizona State Devils team. This game will have serious implications on the race for the PAC-12 South division title, will the Trojans emerge victorious? We asked House of Sparky to give us the inside scoop on this ASU team and matchup:
1. ASU is riding high after wins over Washington and Utah, what do you think is this teams ceiling? What are fans expectations for the rest of the season?
Josiah Destin: The Sun Devils have the potential to win out. If ASU can best USC, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon State and Arizona are all very winnable games, but can also be major road blocks with how unpredictable the Pac-12 is. Fans see ASU making a bowl game. I’d put them at 7-5 to end the season.
2. Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard have shared the carries at RB, combining for almost 700 yards. How key are they to this Devils offense? Do you think their contribution is underrated?
Destin: The Sun Devils rank 10th in the Pac-12 at rushing the football, but have had 200-plus yard games in two of their last three contests: Stanford and Utah. In the beginning of the season, I’d say their contribution was overrated. Now, it’s definitely starting to gel.
3. N’Keal Harry has really distinguished himself as the #1 target in the passing game, what makes him so good?
Destin: The guy is humongous. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds he looks like a linebacker or maybe even a defensive end. Offensive coordinator Billy Napier nicknamed him Secretariat. Manny Wilkins said 50-50 balls with Harry are more like 100 percent because he’s been able to use his body so well to make big plays.
4. This ASU defense has really stepped up the last two weeks, only surrendering 17 total points. What has sparked that improvement? Who in particular has really improved their play?
Destin: Cornerback Chase Lucas has done a great job. He’s only started in three games this season, but in all three, the Sun Devils have held opposing offenses to under 200 passing yards. Lucas had his first career interception last week, and I predict he’ll have plenty more to come.
5. Who are two other names Trojan fans should keep an eye out for during the game? (offense, defense)
Destin: Watch wide receiver Kyle Williams. He’s had a breakout season. After just 56 receiving yards in 2016, he’s collected 348 this season and it’s because of how explosive he is. He’s more quick than fast. On defense, watch DJ Calhoun. The senior linebacker hasn’t missed a tackle all season and leads ASU with 68 tackles.
6. Your prediction for the game.
Destin: ASU 27, USC 21
I think the injury bug has hurt USC far too much, creating poor defense and far too many turnovers.
Special thanks to Josiah Destin and House of Sparky for working with us, you can read the other half to this Q&A right here.