To predict how an Arizona State football season will end up you might want to call a psychic into your house. The moment you think the team is good, they disappoint. When they actually fly under the radar they end up being a quality team. What do we have in Tempe?
What the Sun Devils are is still a mystery to me. Entering their game with the California Golden Bears, the Sun Devils were 3-0 and looking for more. That’s right, the Sun Devils had not been beaten yet.
Getting to 3-0 had not come easy for the Sun Devils, but by no means does this mean that the Devils are a lock for a post-season bowl game. This Sun Devil team is a “bend, but don’t break” type of team. With a legit quarterback in Davis Webb for California, the defense had its challenge right in front of it.
Defense wins games right? Right now, I would settle for a Sun Devil defense making a stop or two.
The Sun Devil defense had to make stops against California. Sonny Dykes has that Chip Kelly quality with running plays at the speed of light, but does not have Kelly’s flare. With that in mind, it was imperative that the Devils defense kept up with the California offense.
On California’s second possession of the night, it exposed the middle of the Sun Devil defense, which has been a problem. Davis Webb torched the defense and got the Bears up 7-0.
This game had the feel of the Sun Devil and Texas Tech game, but sometimes the feel of the game doesn’t happen for a while.
It wasn’t exactly like the Texas Tech game, but both teams tried to put the hurt on each other. California’s Davis Webb is a bona fide pro prospect with how he can throw the ball. I was immensely impressed with how he tossed it around the field. He had 234 yards of passing in the first half and his team was up 24-10.
Arizona State didn’t look interested in the first half and it showed. California seemed like it had control of the game, but looks can be deceiving.
It’s always amazing how the flow of a game can change with a couple of stops on defense, yet the game still up in the air. Stopping the air attack from the Golden Bears was the key to any success the Sun Devils would have on Saturday night.
By the end of the third quarter, the Sun Devils had fought their way back to within one possession.
Arizona State showed its critics that it had some fight, however it still had a hill to climb.
The fourth quarter is where the rubber hits the road in a close game. Unfortunately for the California Golden Bears, they were the ones who got run over.
With defensive stops, interceptions, and Manny Wilkins making some key passes, the Sun Devils turned a sluggish start into a Sun Devil monsoon at the end.
The Sun Devil defense does have holes in it, but it made the plays down the stretch. Don’t get me wrong, they still gave up 41 points, which something that has to be solved. However, they were a big part of this 51-41 win over California.
Say what you want about Arizona State. It is 4-0 heading into its games with the USC Trojans and then the UCLA Bruins. This game was a confidence boost for the Sun Devils. They have to figure out how to be more consistent on defense and not as sluggish to start games. They fix those two things and who knows what happens.
Well, the psychic might. Forks Up, Sun Devil fans.
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Image: Courtesy Mike Wilson