I’m willing to bet that after Saturday’s victory over Colorado, most die-hard ASU football fans breathed a sigh of relief. Sure, it was fun to watch and there was indeed much to celebrate. Coach Todd Graham had his team focused and ready to play. The bloggers and pundits were talking about this being a “trap” game. The ingredients for such a letdown were there, but the Sun Devils would have none of it. They were all business. This is a sign of good coaching and maturity and leadership from the players.
In a 54-13 victory, it could be considered nit-picking, but let’s get some of the negatives out of the way:
Will Sutton’s personal foul for a late hit was unnecessary. He knows better.
The defense got caught a couple of times on misdirection plays. It was obvious that they were watching the ball instead of reading their keys. They were also guilty of being “screen bait” on a successful screen play by Colorado.
There were three dropped passes by ASU receivers, including one for a touchdown.
I counted four missed tackles.
All of these errors were buried in a blowout victory. But they are mistakes nonetheless and could be quite costly against a team like Washington, who happens to be visiting this weekend. Coach Graham and his staff will no doubt work with the players in practice and the film room to fix these miscues, amongst others.
On Saturday, we saw a dominating performance by Arizona State. Colorado is not a very good team, but they are no slouches either. They are a division I program with scholarship athletes just like everybody else and ASU jumped all over them. Players, coaches and fans should be proud.
I was personally impressed that Colorado WR Paul Richardson had zero catches in the first half against the Sun Devil starting defense. That speaks volumes. Zero catches? Richardson was being talked about as one of the best receivers in the conference and perhaps the nation. That is getting it done.
ASU got plenty of pressure on the quarterback, which led to three interceptions and a safety. And the defense adjusted well to CU’s change at QB. Such a move can cause problems for a defense. It alters the tendencies and reads. After the new QB led the Buffaloes on an 80-yard TD drive, ASU adjusted and handled it.
The Sun Devil offense was also sharp. It protected Taylor Kelly, ran the ball well, converted on third down and scored points. That’s just about all you can ask. I especially liked how ASU answered back immediately after Colorado scored to make it 25-6. It went on to score another 21 points before halftime.
All in all, a great effort by the Sun Devils. They did what they were supposed to do: dominate an inferior opponent. Now, as always, they need to enjoy the win for a brief time and reload for a huge game against Washington. The Huskies have a lot of weapons and are a legitimate top 25 team. This will be another step to show the world that ASU is for real.