The Arizona State Sun Devils have talked at length all week that they are not overlooking the Colorado Buffaloes. Todd Graham has expressed that they are a different football team from last year's squad that won just one game.
While it is hard to ignore the fact that the Sun Devils are a 25.5-point favorite over the 2-2 Buffaloes, there are still key players to this football game on each side:
Arizona State Sun Devils
Marion Grice, Running Back
Fans and media alike are waiting for Marion Grice to have his breakout game. Grice has been held below 100 yards in all five games this season, managing 4.0 yards per carry. There is no doubt Grice has been able to find the endzone this season, however he has not been able to carry Arizona State in the rushing game.
The Colorado Buffaloes enter Saturday's contest with the 61st ranked rushing defense in the country. Last week, the Oregon Ducks exploded for 349 rushing yards in a 57-16 route of the Buffaloes. Expect Grice, and the entire offense, to have a big game on Saturday.
Cameron Smith, Wide Receiver
The freshman wide receiver from Texas has been slowly creeping his way onto the field this season. Against Notre Dame, Smith had two catches for 11 yards. Smith has been hampered by injuries early in his career, but he was taking first team reps at WR alongside Jaelen Strong and Kevin Ozier this week.
The Sun Devils are looking for someone besides Jaelen Strong to step up at wide receiver. No other wide receiver besides Strong has caught 10 passes on the season. Taylor Kelly only has four touchdown passes to wide receivers this season, and three of those have come to Strong.
Demarious Randall, Safety
Randall had perhaps the best debut for a defender in school history against Notre Dame. In his first college start, the junior safety racked up 17 tackles and a pass break up. Randall was all over the field against the Irish and it will be interesting to see if Randall can put up numbers similar against Colorado.
The Buffaloes rank 26th in the nation in passing offense. Quarterback Connor Wood has thrown two interceptions in each of Colorado's last three games.
The Arizona State secondary will face its stiffest test since facing Marqise Lee when Paul Richardson comes to town. Richardson has 621 receiving yards and five touchdowns through four games this season.
Paul Richardson, Wide Receiver
Richardson as of now is the best receiver in the Pac-12. After missing all of 2012 because of injuries, Richardson has over 600 yards receiving through four games. He is averaging over 20 yards per catch and has two games of 200 yards receiving all ready this season.
Richardson demands attention wherever he is on the field and it important for the Sun Devils to contain him on Saturday. In Colorado's two wins, Richardson has 21 catches, in their two losses, he has 10 catches.
Connor Wood, Quarterback
Wood has been up and down this season. In his first two games, the junior signal caller threw six touchdowns and two interceptions and had 741 yards passing. In two Pac-12 games this season, (both losses) Wood has thrown two touchdowns and four interceptions. He has an average quarterback rating in his last two games of 78.5.
Wood will make mistakes and urn the ball over. In the last two games, teams have tried to take Richardson out of the game and make someone else beat them. And no one else has stepped up. Look for the Sun Devils to get after Wood and force him into some turnovers.
Addison Gillam, Linebacker
The true freshman is the best player on Colorado's struggling defense. Gillam leads Colorado with 51 total tackles and two sacks. Gillam is averaging over 12 tackles per game and even has two pass break ups on the season. He is the one defensive player Arizona State needs to be aware of at all times.