It’s quickly approaching. Sun Devil fans are eagerly anticipating their beloved team in action one more time in 2014. What do the Sun Devils need to do to win the Sun Bowl? Execute. I know it’s that is a pretty obvious answer, but the Devils really have not executed that well at the end of this season.
Even though it’s probably not going to happen, the Sun Devils need to switch up the quarterback for this game. They need to start Mike Bercovici instead of Taylor Kelly. For me, Bercovici is much better passer and leader of the offense. Bercovici and his complete quarterback skills, in terms of footwork, stronger arm, and his intensity as a leader is a much more positive influence on the offense. I think the offense just moves better with Bercovici calling the signals behind center.
The other area that the Devils have to get better at is on defense. They have allowed close to 28 points a game and when you allow that many points a game, that puts a lot of pressure on the offense to score every time out. They are playing a Duke team that averages 32 points a game and that is something that the defensive coaches at ASU have been trying to figure out how to stop. The defense has been progressively better since they were destroyed by UCLA back in September at Sun Devil Stadium. The defense has been playing with greater “attitude” during 2014. They had to replace nine starters from the 2013 squad and that was a major concern coming into this year, but has turned into a positive for the Devils. Let’s hope that the defense for the Sun Devils has a positive outcome against Duke.
DJ Foster. He needs to get going in this game. Period. He is a very good runner in space and is a great target as a receiver because of his speed. Foster is a player that is thinking of leaving early for the NFL and for him to be taken somewhat early in the draft he needs to have a special game against Duke. He rushed for 1,002 yards and caught 59 passes for 646 yards, but if you look at his rushing stats, more than half of his yards came in the first three games. Since then Foster has been held in check on the ground. He’s been missed used in my humble opinion. He’s a guy that needs to be used in the slot and in space and not trying to punch him in between the tackles where he can’t utilize his amazing speed. Fly sweeps, slants, regular sweeps are what you need to use DJ Foster properly. Anything that puts him in space will be a positive for Arizona State. I am hoping this happens and that Foster realizes he needs to stay for his final year in Tempe.
Jaelen Strong is the man for the Devils. He’s everything you want in a receiver. He’s big, strong, athletic, and has tremendous hands. He’s gained a lot more notoriety nationally since he rescued the Devils against USC with the “Jael-Mary” pass that won the game for the Devils. He’s going to be doubled team for sure, so the Coach Norvell is going to have to figure out a way to get him the ball. They may have to spread the ball around at first to soften up the defense and keep the double team off of him and then hit him with some post or fly routes down the field. However, he’s big and physical and may be able to create some spacing on his own because I have a feeling that Duke will try and jam him at the point of attack, so he doesn’t get downfield with the timing routes that ASU likes to use in their offense. The other receivers for the Sun Devils need to step up their game to help Strong get his in this game.
The match up that will intrigue me the most is the Sun Devil defense against the Blue Devil offense. ASU has more weapons on offense than Duke has, so I think the Sun Devils will be able to score, but can their defense make enough stops? I believe that they can, but it will still be the thing I will be looking at during this game.
When the final gun goes off, I think Arizona State will be the winner in a very entertaining game for fans. ASU wins this game by about 10 points and heads into the 2015 season on a high note with two 10 win seasons behind them and can work on getting a Pac-12 South division title and possibly more. Fear the Fork Duke.