Here we take a look at the Aztecs first Pac 12 opponent, ASU.
The San Diego State Aztecs travel on the road to face the Sun Devils this Saturday.
Who are the ASU Sun Devils?
The Sun Devils are 1-0 after defeating NMSU 37-31 this past Saturday.
To get to know the Sun Devils better, we chatted with Kaelen Jones – who covers everything ASU for the House of Sparky.
1. How do the Sun Devils look to respond following a losing season?
– It’s worth noting that ASU practically underwent an entire staff overhaul this offseason. This year, the Sun Devils appear more locked in, and new assistants such as OC Billy Napier (who arrived from perennial contender Alabama) and DC Phil Bennett (a fiery, passionate 61-year-old with 40 years of coaching experience) have helped lead that charge. The goal is to recapture the type of success when Todd Graham arrived at Tempe, as well as ASU’s back-to-back 10-win campaigns.
2. What did NMSU do so well to keep the game close in Week 1?
– Graham and junior offensive lineman Sam Jones noted that the Aggies’ defensive line twisted and stunted often, causing a bit of confusion inside. NMSU finished the game with seven sacks and 14 TFLs, with a few coming during the second quarter when the visitors drew within one point. Aside from that, it was really the Sun Devils’ inability to stay on the field (time of possession) which allowed the Aggies to hang around for so long.
3. What are some key players to watch on both sides of the ball this season?
– Offensively, the stars are wide receiver N’Keal Harry and running back Kalen Ballage. Defensively, defensive lineman JoJo Wicker and linebacker Koron Crump.
4. What is the biggest position group advantage that ASU has over SDSU?
– I’d say the Sun Devils have an advantage on offense along the perimeter at wide receiver. The Aztecs should have their hands full dealing with Harry, John Humphrey Jr., Jalen Harvey, Kyle Williams, and Frank Darby. It’s possible Harry has a performance comparable to UC Davis receiver Keelan Doss.
5. How do you see this game playing out?
– I think it will end up being close. The Aztecs have a formidable rushing attack, so it will be interesting to see how the Sun Devils defend it after struggling, rather uncharacteristically so, against the run last season.
SDSU 31, ASU 27