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ASU Football Tuesday Report: Sun Devils shift focus to USC

Find out which Sun Devil defenders will miss the remainder of the season and what Todd Graham had to say about the USC defense in Tuesday's practice report.

Junior Onyeali (left) will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
Junior Onyeali (left) will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State football team is moving past its 42-28 defeat to the Stanford Cardinal last Saturday. Arizona State's attention now shifts to Pac-12 South rival USC, who comes to visit Tempe on Saturday.

The Sun Devils have lost 12 of the past 13 meetings to the Trojans, with the only victory in that span coming in 2011.

"We have a very, very talented team that we are playing," said Todd Graham. "The toughest thing about USC now is the way they are playing defense. Obviously they have big play capability on offense and in the special teams."

Part of the big play capability that Graham speaks of is junior wide receiver Marqise Lee, who has 20 catches for 293 yards this year. Last season, Lee amassed 1,721 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Against Arizona State in 2012, Lee caught 10 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown.

The USC defense is only giving up an average of 11 points per game, which puts them 11th in the nation.

"We are very candid with our guys that the Pac-12 conference is the most important thing," Graham said. "Moreover than that, the Pac-12 South (is most important), it starts with USC and it starts this week."

Special teams update

Graham was quick to take the onus off punter Matt Haack for the blocked punt turned safety that cost Arizona State two points against Stanford. Graham stated that the punt protection line was lined up a yard too deep and got pushed back into Haack.

"It was a day one mistake, but when you are playing against good people they are going to exploit those kind of things," said Graham. "The snap before that it almost happened, so you can't point that out and have it happen and I think that points to just not being prepared."

Coach Todd Graham praised the kickoff coverage team and kickoff specialist Alex Garoutte for his job booting the ball into the endzone. He said he would like to see the return game improve.

"We just had a really, really poor game in the kicking game," Graham said. "That really put us so far behind that we beat ourselves."

Injury report

Coach Todd Graham gave some bad news after Tuesday's practice. Freshman Chans Cox and senior Junior Onyeali will both be lost for the season due to shoulder injuries.

Cox's has been a nagging injury that had kept him off the field in 2013 and Onyeali was injured against Stanford.

A.J. Latu will likely be done for the season but Graham did not say whether he was positive that the freshman linebacker would be lost for the year. Latu will be sidelined with an ankle injury, he had been getting some second team reps in practice.