Wow, what a crazy weekend full of crazy Sun Devil action. The games were wild, the food was delicious, and Tempe has finally started having some beautiful weather. Lets get to it.
ASU FOOTBALL - 34, UCLA 9... BIG WIN
ASU has a dominant (defensively oriented) win over the UCLA to get up to 5 wins, and set up a fateful showdown with Arizona for a bowl berth, which we do not really deserve, but will gladly take.
This game was bizarre. If someone tossed the game stats in your face you'd cringe and assume ASU got trounced.
|Team Stat Comparison|
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
So, we couldn't run the ball, couldn't pass the ball, held the ball for less time despite 4 turnovers, and were nearly outgained 3-1...but we win by nearly 30? How? Defense. Like I have been saying since the USC game, our defense is well coached, full of studs, and has been the strongest part of this team. Nolan, Nixon and Goethel all had INT returns for TDs. That kind of thing is not sustainable, but it sure kicks ass. Troy Nolan's was even for 100 yards. Dexter Davis now has 10 sacks - he could get up to 12 easily by the end of the season, since bowl statistics count in college. Nolan has 4 ints, Nixon has 5. Defense looks good.
Offense - not so much. Rudy threw for 101 yards, 1 int, and had a 50% comp percentage. He looked lost out there, and really struggled. He sucks. I look forward to the future. McGaha and Jones were the only people getting open. UCLA has a good pass defense, but this was pathetic. Herring, Nance, DeWitty - none of them could run the ball against one of the worst rush defenses in the nation (96th nationally). The line sucks. At least the penalties were cut down by about 30 yards today...
Anyways. It was a good win, and it sets us up nicely for a showdown with Arizona that will be packed with storylines.
ASU Basketball 1-1
ASU 78, Baylor 87 LOSS
The first loss of the season came in depressing fashion. The game started off nicely and looked like a win until it became clear that Baylor was going to successfully do the one thing our defense wants other teams to do - shoot threes. The zone scheme Sendek has in place is predicated on forcing the opponent into taking a bunch of long threes, since it clogs the passing lanes and the key, but Baylor just kept hitting shots. Baylor was 11-24 (~46%) from downtown, with LaceDarius Dunn hitting 6 of them off the bench for 27 points. Baylor's guards combined for 69 points and Baylor just drowned us out in the second half. Baylor played flawlessly with only 8 turnovers, and shot an incredible 57% for the game.
Frankly, I am not that upset with the loss. Baylor hit everything. They took shots we wanted them to take, and in the end, just made more. They are a quality team. Harden was huge again with 32 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. He just was not enough. Abbott was garbage, going 2-10, and 1-7 from three. Harden can't do it alone. Pendergraph had another solid game with 19 points and 10 boards, but needs to be more assertive on the offensive end. He should have taken more than his 7 shots. He was 6-7 and 7-7 from the line. We just got beat, which is something I can accept.
ASU 88, UTEP 58
We responded on Sunday with a crushing defeat of UTEP. Sendek really is an amazing coach. Obviously, UTEP is not Baylor, but in one day Sendek fixed our defensive problems and the team responded in shutting down UTEP to under 30% from the field (29.6%), and from three (23.5%). Defense was amazing, but James Harden was king.
Harden dropped 40 points and set the tournament record for points in a game, and points in the tournament. 40 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assits. 6-7 from three. 6-6 from the line. Harden is simply gangster. Abbott was the only other person in double figures with 12, although he shot poorly again. He needs to find his stroke quickly if he is going to be taking 7 threes a game. He is only shooting 26% on the season. The team looked good today. Wish we could have come out of the tourney undeafeated..but oh well.
We are 5-1 and have one of the best players in the country on our team, and our football team has won 3 in a row. ASU athletics are looking good.