Coming off the loss to BYU, Arizona State opens Pac-12 play by hosting the Colorado Buffaloes this upcoming Saturday. Based of the performance against the Cougars and even the Sun Devils’ first two wins this season, House of Sparky put together three things we want to see against Colorado.
You knew this one was coming. Arizona State heads into its matchup having been penalized 36 times this season. That ranks 129th...of 130 FBS teams, it is as bad as it seems.
Let’s be honest, not all flags are created equal. If an offensive lineman holds a rusher to ensure Jayden Daniels doesn’t get blasted on a sack, that’s okay. The secondary eats the pass interference call to prevent a would be touchdown, that’s fine, live another day.
However, there are penalties that are inexcusable. Curtis Hodges getting called for an ineligible man downfield on his own big-yardage catch is mind boggling, especially for an experienced player. Everyone expected Omarr Norman-Lott to have a big role this season, but a young player can’t have two face mask penalties in the fourth quarter of a tight game.
All the talk from the coaches this week and past needs to come true against Colorado because that offense needs all the help it can get and Arizona State shouldn’t be helping the Buffaloes.
One Receiver to Step Up
Maybe it’s becoming redundant, maybe it’s pointless to ask, but can one receiver step up and be the guy?
Let’s run through this real quick. Rachaad White had the most receptions and receiving yards against BYU in Daniels’ best week as a passer thus far. Andre Johnson made one big play similar to the Southern Utah game, and didn’t do much after. Ricky Pearsall had five catches — one awesome toe tap to extend a drive — but for just 44 yards the entire game. LV Bunkley-Shelton caught three for 45 yards which is good for being a role player. Most probably remember Johnny Wilson’s drop more than his two catches.
BYU’s second-half coverages did dictate some of the things Arizona State did. Although, this pass offense is never going to reach its ceiling unless one of these receivers — which a few were heavily recruited nationwide — just grab the spot no one is taking as Daniels’ safety blanket to turn to. It doesn’t need to be a monster performance, but a six grabs for 80 yards and a touchdown would be nice to see from someone.
No Mental Lapses from the Defense
As mentioned early, the Colorado offense has struggled. The Buffaloes haven’t scored in seven straight quarters. Arizona State doesn’t have to pitch a shutout, even giving up 17 points shouldn’t have fans crying out boos. The Sun Devils need to simply make Colorado earn it though.
Injuries have created rotational switches amongst the secondary and the defensive line. Even so, most of the players that have a role have been in the program for close to two years now. Busted coverages and really bad penalties to extend drives is all it takes for a team that can’t move the ball to transform into a functioning offense with a bit of life behind it.