It took more than three quarters of game action, but when Arizona State held a 55-0 advantage, a Sun Devil defender finally recorded the first sack of the season.
If you had Antonio Longino in your office pool, the person running your pool probably came to your cubicle last. But fear not, as the reserve linebacker scored you the admiration of your coworkers when he took down Sacramento State backup Jihad Vercher for a 13-yard loss.
There's not much to pick apart after such a dominating effort, but it's hard for Arizona State fans to look past the stat sheet and notice that neither Will Sutton nor Carl Bradford recorded a sack on Thursday. Longino's sack stands as the only sack the Sun Devils recorded against the Hornets and many fans have expressed concern.
After all, we've come to expect that Sutton and Bradford will shine against every opponent, so it only makes sense that they would hold their own against Sacramento State.
Why didn't the all-stars put up gaudy numbers? It all comes down to Sacramento State's scheme.
When they fell behind early, the Hornets quickly went into surrender mode and resorted to three-step drops on passes and running between the tackles on rushing places. This style of play is not conducive to sacks and tackles for loss, but it's not conducive to winning either.
Sacramento State knew it was outmatched at the point of attack and coach Marshall Sperbeck opted to protect his players by playing conservatively instead of risking injury against the behemoths known as Sutton and Bradford.
Sun Devil fans have nothing to worry about. The numbers will come against teams that test Arizona State because those teams will take risks. And when they do, you better believe that Sutton and Bradford will be chomping at the bit.
Arizona State on Defense
Stats to Know
- The Sun Devils allowed four first downs on the opening drive, and did not give up a first down the rest of the half.
- Arizona State's last shutout of a nonconference opponent came on September 21, 1996 against Nebraska. Every Sun Devil fan old enough to know remembers how that finished the season.
- The Sun Devils allowed 167 yards of offense and 59 of those yards came on the Hornets' first drive of the game.
- Arizona State forced four turnovers (two interceptions and two fumbles) and did not commit a penalty.
- The Hornets crossed midfield twice on the evening.
In The Air
The Sun Devil pass defense looked vulnerable on the Hornets' first drive of the game. The secondary took a few plays to get adjusted and Hornets' quarterback Garrett Safron looked comfortable in making his progressions and hitting his receivers in timing routes. Arizona State recovered, but Todd Graham wasn't pleased with the way his defense started the game.