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ASU vs. Northern Arizona: Staff Gameday Roundtable

Find out how our staff sees game against the Lumberjacks going for the Sun Devils.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Our Panel:

Ryan Bafaloukos - Co-Managing Editor (@RyanBafo)

Connor Pelton - Co-Managing Editor (@ConnorPelton28)

Kaelen Jones - Football Writer (@kaelenjones)

Zac Pacleb - Multimedia Reporter (@ZacPacleb)

Miles Todd - Multimedia Reporter (@5280ft_s)

Blane Ferguson - Staff Writer (@BlaneFerguson)

Short Answer

Q: Assuming ASU defeats NAU, what has to happen for you to consider it a successful night? Or is just a W enough?

Kaelen: There needs to be a point in the game where it's clear that ASU can do whatever it wants to on both sides of the ball. The offense needs to put together clean sequential drives where NAU has no answer or way to stop them; the defense needs to prove it can cover in the secondary and pressure the QB without blitzing 6+ men on every down.

Connor: A successful night would mean Arizona State having a victory well in hand by the end of the third quarter and a decent-enough performance from Manny Wilkins to keep him in the game until it's time to bring in the second team offense.

It would also be nice to see the coaching staff not get too trigger-happy with Brady White if Wilkins starts out a little ugly. It's going to take him plenty of actual, in-game reps to prepare for Texas Tech in seven days, and he won't get those sitting on the sidelines while the supposed "backup" is on the field.

Zac: A win is fine. A blowout-win is preferred. I'll be keeping a close eye on ASU's defense. The frequency of blitzing and how the secondary responds is something to watch.

Miles: I think a W is good enough... for now. There's a lot of new faces starting for ASU, (most notably at the Quarterback position) who haven't had a lot of game time if any, so a simple win will suffice for now.

Blane: It needs to be a blowout win for me to consider this game a success. Even though NAU is competitive in their conference, ASU has to show that superior athleticism and the Devils have to dominate in the trenches. I would say my criteria for it to be a resounding success would be something along the lines of no turnovers on offense, no big plays given up on defense, and a win-margin of at least 28 points.

Ryan: To me, besides getting a W at the end of the night, Manny Wilkins needs to play well enough that there is no question who should start against Texas Tech. While the NAU offense can give the ASU defense some fits, ASU should be able to score whenever they want.

Q: Which player, besides the quarterback, will you be watching the closest on Saturday night?

Kaelen: Kareem Orr. Him matched up against 6-foot-4 Emmanuel Butler will be key battle.

Connor: N'Keal Harry has been a favorite of mine to follow throughout fall camp, I think the freshman wide receiver will be fun to watch in his first collegiate game. His success could very well go hand in hand with how well Wilkins performs.

Zac: I'm excited to watch Tim White. All indications point toward White destroying the souls of every defensive back across from him. He told reporters at Pac-12 media day that he wanted to burn everybody, which either means you're a crazy person or extremely confident in your ability to burn anyone and everyone.

Miles: Demario Richard and/or Kalen Ballage. Both are absolute beast and are going to tear up the NAU defense. It will be a blast to watch.

Blane: N'Keal Harry is who I'll be trying to watch closely. It's his first collegiate game and I can't think of a freshman more ready to make an immediate impact on the field maybe since D.J. Foster arrived on campus.

Ryan: I will agree with Blane and say N'Keal Harry. He is the highest rated recruit to come to Tempe since Vontaze Burfict and he plays a premium position.

Q: Which position group has the most to prove against NAU?

Kaelen: Front four. 1.) can they get after the passer, 2.) is there a guy athletic enough off the edge to complement Wicker's pass rushing ability.

Connor: The young offensive line needs to show us something. The undersized Northern Arizona defense provides a great chance for them to get their feet wet and gain some confidence headed into week two, but it might be time to worry if both Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage don't have a big night.

Zac: It's the easy pick, but Manny Wilkins gets the first shot at putting a silence to the quarterback battle. He got the nod, and now he gets to show the general public why.

Miles: The secondary and really the defense as a whole. NAU's offense is no joke. Case Cookus and his partner in crime Emmanuel Butler are a real threat when they get going so it will be up to the defense to make sure they don't.

Blane: It has to be the ASU secondary. NAU has the potential to test that unit before Texas Tech comes to town and we all know what the Red Raiders are going to try to do. I'm not sure that we will know if ASU will be ready for Texas Tech and Patrick Mahomes based on tonight's game, but I think the hope is that we don't see they're clearly not ready

Ryan: I will be watching the secondary, especially the corner on the opposite side of Kareem Orr. Chase Cookus and Emmaunuel Butler are a dangerous combination and the ASU secondary had its issues last season, I am interested to see how improved the group is in advance of ASU's game against Texas Tech next week.

One Word/Phrase Answers

Bafaloukos Pelton Jones Pacleb Todd Ferguson

Over/Under 250 Passing

Yards for an ASU QB?

Over Over Under Over Under Over

Over/Under Three Plays of 25+

Yards for the Lumberjacks?

Over Over Over Under Even Over
Is NAU within Two Touchdowns at Halftime Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Do We See Brady White Tonight? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Final Score? 52-21, ASU 38-17, ASU 48-27, ASU 55-17, ASU 34-17, ASU 45-13, ASU