The final home game of the 2014 season is a day away. The Arizona State Sun Devils are truly in must-win mode, if they want any chance at playing in the Pac-12 championship game.
Here's what it will take to come out victorious against Washington State:
1. Pressure Luke Falk: Falk was sacked four times in his first start taking over for Connor Halliday. But Falk still dissected Oregon State for 471 yards and five touchdowns in a surprising win in Corvallis. But the book on every inexperience quarterback is the same: get in his face, hit him and harass him. The Sun Devils didn't get big plays when they needed them in the loss last week. That has to change tomorrow.
2. Taylor Kelly has to be Taylor Kelly: I talked about it in the Matchup of the Week, but Kelly has looked bad since returning from his broken foot. He looks tentative, unsure of himself and unwilling to test his leg. That's got to change this week. If Kelly isn't back to his normal self, not only are the Sun Devils in danger of losing to a well-coached Washington State squad, but Kelly would certainly have to be in danger of losing his job to Mike Bercovici.
3. Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers: This goes both ways. When Taylor Kelly throws interceptions, the Sun Devils lose football games. But more importantly, Washington State has been a turnover machine this year, averaging over two per game. The opportunistic Sun Devils defense needs some redemption after allowing Oregon State to come back last week. This game presents a perfect opportunity for the Sun Devils defense to get back on track before Arizona.
4. Win Time of Possession: The Cougars and Sun Devils both run fast-paced, up-tempo offenses. If Arizona State can significantly control time of possession, it should slow the Cougars down enough to make this game comfortable. Remember, the biggest misconception about up-tempo offense is that the ball has to be snapped quickly. Yes, that is Mike Norvell's goal most of the time, but you can be up-tempo and slow the game down at the line, too.
5. Find the buried treasure: Hey, Mike Leach is a pirate, right?