Arizona State vs. San Diego State Game Preview, Predictions
Aztecs travel to the desert to face a Pac-12 foe.
Arizona State (1-0) vs. San Diego State (1-0) Game Preview
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Saturday, Sept. 9th
Game Time: 11:00 pm ET
Venue: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
The Aztecs are coming. . . The Aztecs are coming. . .
This game is sure to be an epic battle worth watching. Rocky Long’s running-on-all-cylinders Aztecs are eager to maintain their ferocious momentum, and they’re on the march to Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils have struggled to find their mojo. They will be desperate to defend their 10-0-1 record. Many believe that Rocky Long’s Aztecs- who finished last season in the AP Top 25- are prepared to win this time around.
The two-time defending Mountain West champs looked sharp last week in their season opener against the U.C. Davis Aggies.
Quarterback Christian Chapman threw for two touchdowns; highly touted running back Rashad Penny ran for two touchdowns, and talented running back Juwan Washington ran for a third. Kicker John Baron, a Lou Groza candidate went six for six.
With new talented receivers and a defensive line that held the Aggies to just 57 rushing yards, these are the Aztecs many were hoping to see after the team graduated eight seniors to the NFL.
Without question, the real test for the Aztecs this year comes in the next two weeks with back-to-back Pac-12 matches against ASU and Stanford Rocky Long is eager to further the case that SDSU is Power 5 worthy. Two wins could also give the Aztecs a good look at a New Year’s Six bowl appearance.
Todd Graham’s coaching job is going to be on the line this season. He must prove that he should not be replaced after delivering a 5-7 season last year that included a 2-7 record in Pac-12 season play. Then, just last week, ASU let New Mexico State get too close for comfort before securing the season-opening 37-31 win.
Still, the Sun Devils are not to be underestimated, and their roster is chock full of Power 5 talent.
Why Arizona State Will Win
The 71,000-seat Sun Devils Stadium is a difficult venue for a visiting team.
Todd Graham has one of the hottest seats in college football right now- only behind Notre Dame’ Brian Kelly and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, who blew a 34-point lead against UCLA last week. Graham desperately needs a win.
QB Manny Wilkins has a cannon for an arm, and a solid aerial game. He completed 22 of 27 passes last week against New Mexico State. N’Keal Harry is shaping up to be one of the finest receivers in college ball, and the 6’4″ receiver led all freshmen in receptions last season.
Nonetheless, the Sun Devils’ young and inexperienced offensive line has often been compared to a type of cheese from Switzerland, and against New Mexico State last week Wilkins was sacked seven times. The Sun Devils have also struggled to run the ball.
Why San Diego State Will Win
The Aztecs have Rocky Long. He’s one of the most underrated coaches in college football. In this game, Long has the coaching advantage over Todd Graham, who despite having Power 5 resources, has struggled as of late.
On offense, Christian Chapman has proven himself to be a championship quarterback. He has the option to pass to a new group of talented receivers; to run the ball with stellar running backs Rashaad Penny or Juwan Washington; or to find chains himself. Penny rushed for nearly 200 yards last week, and scored twice, causing many to believe the hype.
Aztecs special teams are one of the “best in class” in NCAA football.
San Diego State has a Rocky Long defense. The line is big, it is old school, and it is formidable. The Aztecs will be tough to get past. The Aztecs managed two interceptions last week, and let up very little yardage until the third string was introduced in the fourth quarter.
What Will Happen
The Sun Devils allowed 31 points against the New Mexico State, so it’s hard to believe they will shut down San Diego State this coming week.
The Sun Devils will put up a fierce fight, but they will likely overplay their most versatile players, and hit fatigue during the second half partly from the heat and partly from the tough Aztecs defense. The holes in their offensive line will likely lead to tackles for loss and turnovers.
The Aztecs are adept at scoring on offense, defense and special teams, and they have the momentum.
Arizona State vs. San Diego State Prediction
Line: Arizona State Sun Devils -4.5 — Over/Under: 60