It was a pleasant evening Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium leading up to the Oregon State and Arizona State matchup, but it quickly turned ugly for the Devils. Lets take a look at how the different ASU units fared against the Beavs.
Quarterback: Danny Sullivan had decent statistics throwing for over 300 yards and completing over 50% of his 58 passes thrown, however his performance looks better on paper than on the field. Sullivan often missed his receivers badly with overthrows, underthrows, and "who knows where he was throwing it" throws. Erickson is left with a difficult decision going into next weeks game against the Wazzu Cougars, to stick with his senior QB or switch to the freshman Brock Osweiler. While the fans are calling for Oz, I have a feeling we will see Sully take the field on Saturday and lead the Devils to a win. (Note: the game is not televised, so we won't ACTUALLY see the game)
Grade: C- (He DID throw for 300+ yards)
Running Back: Nance and Bass were the two RB's to see the field on Saturday. Nance had some good runs and Bass also looked good until he fumbled near the red zone, killing a good offensive drive (which are hard to come by). The ASU running game needs some creativity and needs to be able to line up in the I-formation on short yardage situations. Overall the running game was inefficient.
Wide Receivers: McGaha was the only good receiver. With a career high 15 catches for over 100 yards, McGaha looked 100% healthy. He has some of the best hands of any ASU wideout in history. Aided by Williams injury, Chris was moved into the slot, and caught numerous passes across the middle. Hopefully we continue to do this as Williams seems to drop a lot of passes across the middle. The rest of the receiving corps looked lackadaisical. ASU seems to be depleted of talent at the WR position and could really use a couple of players to step their game up.
McGaha's Grade: A
The Rest of the WR's: C-
Tight End: Do we have any?
Grade: N for nonexistant
Offensive Line: Another decent performance. Sullivan didn't end up on his back too often and they were able to create some holes for the running game. Overall the OL has been impressive this season.
Defensive Line: The DL continues to get very little pressure on the QB. They do a decent job on the running game, but must get pressure on the QB in order for the Devils to win. Pressure leads to bad decisions, which lead to turnovers, which lead to short fields for the offense. Look for Dexter Davis to have a big game in Pullman.
Linebackers: The LB's are quick to attack the rushing game and smother the outside run. Oregon State was able to break through a few times for some big runs (Quizz) but the LB's were effective in their rush defense. One thing I think the LB's could improve is their passing defense. The LB's are rarely in position to break up passes or make plays on passing routes.
Secondary: The secondary remains the weakest part of the ASU defense. Too many big plays are made against them, which can be attributed to the lack of pressure on the QB. Holman's interception was basically on a punt, as the ball was in the air forever. I may have even been able to run from the upper deck onto the field and make the play.
Special Teams: Kyle Williams, PLEASE RETURN A KICK. His decisions to fair catch are growing tiresome. Erickson needs to put someone back there that is able to give the Sun Devils better field position. Williams fair caught a ball when he had excellent blocking and about 10 yards infront of him to run.
Wenzig connected on a FG early and made all his XP attempts. He had one kickoff go out of bounds, which hurts the Devils game of field position.
Trevor Hankins punting ability has gotten exponentially better. Although some kicks may be out-kicking the coverage, his leg is helping the Devils get good field position. His il-timed fumble however, put the Devils in a hole early that they were never able to recover from.
Grade: C- (Due to the fumbled snap and kick out of bounds)
Overall Team Grade: C-