clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ASU Football: Cal Poly Players to Watch

The Cal Poly Mustangs might play at a lower level, but they still have plenty of talent that will be on display Saturday.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Following last weekend's blowout loss against Texas A&M, this Saturday's home opener against Cal Poly has taken on a bit of a letdown game feeling. That's only natural when you spend all summer looking forward to an opener against a quality SEC opponent and then have to turn around seven days later and face a Big Sky team.

With that being said, however, the Mustangs are not just coming down to Tempe to roll over, collect their paycheck, and return home. They are currently ranked No. 20 in the FCS Coaches poll and are coming off a road upset of a top 10 Montana team in week one.

So, which players should Arizona State fans be watching for on Saturday? We break it all down below.

QB Chris Brown - Brown was the team's most valuable offensive player as a junior in 2014, and his senior campaign is off to an even better start. The dual-threat signal caller threw for one touchdown last week in Missoula and ran for one more, while also picking up 130 yards on the ground. With the Sun Devils struggling on much of Saturday to contain Aggie quarterback Kyler Murray, look for Brown to call his own number in similar fashion.

Needless to say, stopping this team on offense begins and end with controlling Brown's production. He will struggle with accuracy at times (was just 4/12 against the Grizzlies), so the maroon and gold should be fine as long as they are able to pressure him and force more throws than QB keepers.

WR Roland Jackson - Like I said above, Cal Poly will not throw the ball much. But when it does, Jackson will be the primary target. Also a senior, he won the role of being the team's X-Back (triple option terminology for the primary receiver) in fall camp.

Jackson's big play ability after he does get thrown the ball should have the Arizona State defense a bit concerned. Focusing on shutting down the passing game when defending these types of offenses often goes overlooked (just ask teams who consistently got burned trying to stop Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas at Georgia Tech), and that can lead to confusion and home run balls.

DL Kelly Shepard - Without a doubt, the most memorable images from the loss in Houston came via Myles Garrett and his assault on the Sun Devil offensive line. For example...


Now, Shepard is no Myles Garrett, and he's not even close. But he is the Mustangs' best defensive lineman, and everyone will be interested to see how the maroon and gold tackles handle him on Saturday.