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ASU Football: Sun Devils defense can’t keep the Buffaloes out of the end zone

Defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales takes all the blame for tonight’s loss

Andrew Palla/House of Sparky

The No. 24 Sun Devils (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12), couldn't stop the Colorado Buffaloes (3-1, 1-0) on key third down situations.

Defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales said that all the blame in tonight’s game is on him.

“One hundred percent on me,” Gonzales said. “That is my fault. They were coached terrible this week. When you get out coached, out schemed, that ain’t the kids fault, that’s my fault. We will address it and we will give them a better chance to be successful next week.”

Arizona State after three weeks of giving up an average of seven points, struggled to stop a Colorado offense that lost their best player early in the game. Wide receiver Laviska Shenault left the game early in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury.

The Sun Devils gave up 475 yards of offense, 337 from the air and 138 on the ground. The Sun Devils had ranked third in the conference with 303 total yards given up on average.

One gray area that the defense struggled on all night was on third down. Colorado converted 10 of 17 third down plays and one in particular coach Gonzales found ridiculous.

“Second drive of the game, we have a third and 14 that we don’t execute a five-man pressure” Gonzales said. “We get two guys who come wrong and we cant have assignment errors but we got to be able to get him down on third and 14 that’s ridiculous. That kind of changed the momentum in the game, we gave them a 14-point lead.”

On the other third down conversions, Colorado had set themselves up nicely for conversions by gaining eight or nine yards on first and second down. This left the defense guessing if they would run or throw the ball.

“Third and two, they have way too many options on whether they want to throw it or run it,” Gonzales said. “You can’t stack the box and if they do that, they are going to (call) play-action and throw it over the top of your head. We weren’t good enough in coverage early on. This isn’t on the kids, it’s on me.”

Colorado played an uptempo offense at points in the game and ASU’s defense couldn’t get set and ready for the play call thus giving the Buffaloes bug gains on offense.

We have to do a better job when they go tempo of getting lined up faster,” junior defensive back Evan Fields said. “That’s probably the biggest thing, I feel like once they started going fast we didn’t have enough urgency to get lined up, so they got us out of place and made some plays like that.”

The Mandrake winner from Michigan State’s game, finished with seven total tackles.

Gonzales said the cornerbacks played a great game in man/zone coverage and they only got beat twice. However, both were for touchdowns against junior transfer cornerback Jack Jones.

“The only two balls they really completed on the corners were the two long touchdowns on (Jack Jones),” Gonzales said. “On the first one, he got beat at the line of scrimmage and the second one he was there, he just didn’t play the ball.”

The Sun Devils offense turned their switch after three games of struggling and were able to keep the team in it. Gonzales knows that any team who puts up 400 yards of offense should win the game but not when the defense gives up 475 yards.

“We did not help the offense out at all,” Gonzales said. “Our offense puts up 400 yards, shoot we gave up 475 yards. You aren’t going to win many games that way, when your offense puts up over 400 yards, you should win every game.”

ASU as a whole will look to regroup early in the week as they head up to the Bay Area to take on the No. 23 California Golden Bears Friday night.