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ASU Football: Arizona Players to Watch

Plagued by injuries, only the strongest have survived this treacherous Arizona football season.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, the Arizona State Sun Devils (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12) have found a team who are struggling more and have lost more games in a row than they have (8). And it just so happens to be their arch-nemesis, the Arizona Wildcats (2-9, 0-8).

In a game where the Maroon and Gold need to win the most, it seems very doable. The Sun Devils have been a game away from bowl eligibility since Oct. 9 and are a three-point favorite in Tucson, Ariz.

Though the Sun Devils have the better record, statistically, the Wildcats are right with Arizona State. The Wildcats average more yards per game (397.2) and have allowed less yards per game (467.3) than the Sun Devils.

After a season juggling three different quarterbacks, the Wildcats have learned to rely on the run. Arizona has completed just 154 passes all season ranking last in the Pac-12, but boasts one of the Pac-12’s best rush offenses averaging over 200 yards per game.

Arizona Players to Watch

QB Brandon Dawkins 6-foot-3, 210 pounds

Through all the ugliness of Arizona’s 2-9 season, at least the Wildcats have found a future star in this sophomore quarterback. Last season, he amounted 305 of his 338 passing yards and both of his two touchdowns in one game against Arizona State. This season, Dawkins hasn’t thrown in a single game for over 243 yards, but has had five 75 plus rushing games and leads the team in rush yards with 761 and 15 total touchdowns. If there is anyone in the Pac-12 who truly does everything, It’s Dawkins. He’s a quarterback and still has the fifth-most rushing yards in the Pac-12.

RB Samajie Grant 5-foot-9, 180 pounds

With both starting and backup running backs sidelined for the Wildcats, Grant has taken over as a running back in his senior season. He’s sized like a running back and his quickness has allowed him to have tremendous success in the position. In his first four career games as a running back, he’s racked up 285 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and should make a huge impact for the Wildcats on Senior night.

WR Shun Brown 5-foot-8, 178 pounds

One of the many underclassmen providing hope for the future on the Arizona roster is this Louisiana born sophomore. Dawkins doesn’t pass much, but when he does, Brown is his favorite target. The former three-star recruit ran just .19 seconds slower than the fastest 40-yard dash in the class of 2015. He went from a 24 receiving yard freshman season to a team leading 521 or more-yard sophomore season as he’s emerged as one of the program’s best offensive weapons.

FS Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 6-foot-2, 199 pounds

Last week against Oregon State, he had his biggest game of the season with 13 tackles including one for lost yardage. The sophomore free safety is a tackling machine, as he leads the Wildcats with 74 tackles and is tied for a team-high two interceptions. Flannigan-Fowles, the Tucson native, is aware of the importance of this game and should lead a defensive group this Friday night in need of a huge performance.