ASU Football: Sun Devils vs. Trojans Rapid Reaction

TEMPE, AZ - OCTOBER 28: Ajene Harris
TEMPE, AZ - OCTOBER 28: Ajene Harris /

After having a chance to control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South, the ASU football team failed to capitalize as they lost to the USC Trojans 17-48.

A loss against USC wouldn’t have been a shock to anyone, honestly neither should this result. Arizona State has gotten destroyed by USC the past two seasons and this game completed the trifecta. With the loss it is time to reevaluate an ASU team we thought we knew well.

While the game was mostly negative for ASU, there are still some positives from the game. Here are my takeaways from the game.

1. What happened to the defense?

The Sun Devil defense had been the pride of this team that past two weeks. They had limited opponents and forced them into uncomfortable situations, which led to mistakes. Against the Trojans, everything went out the window. The defense looked the worse it has looked all season and it leaves us with a lot of questions that need to be answered in the coming weeks. The biggest question that needs to be answered, has the poor-tackling still not been taken care of? There were so many broken tackles by USC running back Ronald Jones that I thought he was Bryce Love in disguise. As long as poor tackling is an issue in Tempe, this team isn’t going anywhere positive.

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2. Eno Benjamin can be the future

Early in the season, if Demario Richard or Kalen Ballage went down in a game the healthy back would simply get the carries the other would have gotten had they played. Tonight, head coach Todd Graham decided to give Eno Benjamin a chance, and he didn’t disappoint. In one carry he gained 17 yards. Yes, Benjamin only received one carry, but it was an explosive carry. He showed poise and the ability to weave through defenders and break out a long run with his speed. He is a hybrid between Richard’s speed and Ballage’s power. He was recruited to be the future, and there is no reason to believe that he won’t be exactly that.

3. The offensive line needs work

Wilkins was sacked six times. The offensive line wasn’t able to protect Wilkins tonight and it led to a lot of rushed throws and dump off passes that proved to be ineffective. The line wasn’t any better for the run game either. They weren’t able to open up any holes and they didn’t have the ability to keep the USC defense out of the backfield. This upcoming week’s practice needs to focus on the offensive line. Wilkins is the key to ASU’s success, when he is on, Arizona State looks like a top team. Giving Wilkins time in the pocket and protection to step up and throw the ball is a must.