With Alabama's dominating victory in the BCS National Championship Game, the college football season has officially come to an end.
Among the many things this end represents, it closes the stat books, allowing for reflection upon how the Arizona State Sun Devils stacked up in various categories among the other 119 FBS teams.
The numbers mostly tell the tale you would expect--a proficient passing team undone by a sub-par running game, a bad defense and the most penalties of any team in the country.
Let's examine how the Sun Devils stacked up nationally in the key categories. All statistics courtesy of the NCAA.
Rushing: 85th (129.1 yards per game)
While Cameron Marshall scored a ton of touchdowns (18), his yardage was good, not great (1,050). As reflected in their ranking, ASU didn't have anyone else as a running threat, with Jamal Miles finishing second at 237 yards.
Passing: 10th (316.7 yards per game)
Having one of the eight quarterbacks in the nation to top 4,000 yards passing naturally will help the ranking, as Brock Osweiler's 4,036 were all but 81 yards of the Sun Devils' team total.
Total Offense: 25th (445.8 yards per game)
It speaks to the ability of the passing game to help compensate for a lackluster running game by bringing up the team's overall ranking to the top 25.
Scoring: 28th (33.2 points per game)
Over the season's first eight games, the Sun Devils were scoring in bunches, topping 30 points in their six wins. But over the last five games-all losses-ASU only topped that mark once, in the 47-38 loss to Cal.
Sacks Allowed: 73rd - Tied (2.2 sacks per game)
It was thought the veteran offensive line would be a team strength, but it was not to be. It wasn't nearly as bad as during the Rudy Carpenter days, but in many games, Osweiler was under constant duress, which threw off the Devils' passing attack.
The ranking is about right, as the run defense was neither terrible nor decent. They had good games (Oregon State, Colorado under 90 yards) and terrible games (Oregon's 327, UCLA's 221 and Cal's 247). The story of the run defense was not the yards they allowed, but rather when they allowed them.
Passing: 108th (273.0 yards per game)
Anyone who watched the last five games of the season knew the Sun Devils' Achilles Heel was the pass defense, but the singular story was their (lack of) performance against Washington State. Facing the Cougars' third-string quarterback in Connor Halliday, who had seen very scant work to that point, they surrendered 503 passing yards and four touchdowns in the season's most embarrassing loss.
Total Defense: 91st (422.1 yards per game)
Well, at least the offense gained more than the other team's did, right? Like most defensive stats, it was a tale of two seasons. Over the first nine games, ASU opponent's topped 450 yards twice. Over the last four games? All four.
Scoring: 74th (28.6 points per game)
Broken record time--in the first eight games, opponents topped 30 points twice. During the five game season-ending losing streak, four times, culminating in Boise State's 56.
Sacks: 59th (1.8 sacks per game)
This is a somewhat surprising figure, given how largely ineffective the pass rush appeared to be over the year. The Devils did not register a sack in the final two games, and only had three over the final four, but an early season trickle of two and three a game saved the ranking somewhat. Vontaze Burfict led the team with five, but three game in the season opener against UC Davis of the FCS.
3rd Down Defense: 23rd (34.9%)
The Sun Devil defense was a force for a large part of the year on third down, and for many weeks led the nation in being the stingiest. However, the late season slump dropped them, and no Sun Devil will soon forget "3rd and 29".
Kickoff Returns: 10th (25.1 yards per return)
Jamal does it all? Well, most of it. Miles put together a great season as the primary returner, taking his 30 kickoffs back an average of 26.3 yards, including two touchdown, giving him a school record three for his career. But he was not alone, as the speedy Rashad Ross averaged 30.1 yards on his 13 returns, including a 98-yard score against Boise State to open the second half.
Kickoff Coverage: 90th (23.1 yards per return)
The coverage teams on kickoffs this season had difficulty maintaining their lane assignments, which resulted in some big returns, none larger than the 100-yard score allowed on the opening kickoff againt Boise State.
Punt Returns: 5th (15.3 yard per return)
Again, it's the Jamal Miles show. Miles fielded 14 of the team's 18 returns, averaging a stellar 16.6 yards and he had a 78-yard touchdown that broke the game open against Oregon State.
Punt Coverage: 59th (7.67 yards per return)
The coverage units did a much better job on punts than they did on kickoffs, which is credit to punter Josh Hubner's hang time.
Turnover Margin: 17th (+0.69 turnovers per game)
Beginning with the Illinois game, ASU's defense began a stretch in which they generated 24 turnovers over six games, which helped to cover up their defensive deficiencies. However, over the four November games, they only managed four total.
Penalties Per Game: 120th (8.0)
That's right, 120th. Dead last. That should come as no surprise, but still...ugh...
Penalty Yards Per Game: 120th (79.8)
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