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ASU Football: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly vs. Stanford

If the team continues to play the way they do, the ASU program is in trouble.

Andrew Palla/House of Sparky

After their fourth loss of the season, third against the conference, the Sun Devils season is starting to take a downward spiral. There wasn’t much good, but there was plenty bad, and a familiar ugly.

The Good

Brandon Ruiz.

That’s it.

Perfect on field goals and his one extra point. Without him, the Devils have one touchdown that took them 49 minutes to get.

The Bad

The defense kind of gets a bad rap here because of several comments regarding the officiating in the Thursday night game, but a good defense makes up for poor penalties, and ASU did not.

Defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales shared his thoughts on the officiating following the game, but he didn’t completely back up his defense in his statement.

“I mean, same thing we said last week,” Gonzales said. “We’re close, we’ve got an opportunity to build something special here on defense and we’ll find out a whole lot about the character of these kids. I told them, there are no moral victories I hope every one of them feels like they got stabbed in the heart because it should hurt. If you’re invested it hurts.”

Despite the errors, the defense was able to neutralize a potent Cardinal offense. Running back Bryce Love battled injury during the game and they limited quarterback KJ Costello to just 231 yards in the air. An improvement from two weeks ago of 97 yards less allowed.

However, they only were able to get one sack and 12 tackles for loss. The defensive backs continued to get beat on long passes as well, including Costello’s 28-yard touchdown to wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside.

The Ugly

Am I the only one who thinks a change at quarterback would be good for this team? To me, Manny Wilkins is on a bit of a hot seat at starting QB.

Yes, he scored the team’s only touchdown. Yes, he is a vocal leader of this team. Yes, he has a great relationship with his players, especially N’Keal Harry. So why is he not playing better?

Week after week, I find Wilkins’ performance to grow worse and worse as Pac-12 play carries on. If you look at the stat sheet and go straight to his yardage, you’re missing one glaring part of his performance; the incompletions.

Wilkins threw 43 passes and completed only 26 of them, which isn’t terrible. It’s a 60% completion percentage, but his missed passes are a huge concern.

His accuracy is here and there. It is evident when he overthrows a 6’ 4” N’Keal Harry.

Harry had eight catches for 91 yards, but he was targeted 14 times.

Head coach Herm Edwards had one line in his post-game presser that encompasses the whole situation.

“There was a couple of times where Manny struggled with a couple of the throws and we just weren’t clicking on offense, to be quite honest,” Edwards said.

If Wilkins continues his struggle, I would be shocked if backup Dillon Sterling-Cole doesn’t get an opportunity under center.