Time for our weekly look at Washington’s opponent, which this week is Arizona State in a 7:15 p.m. game in the heat of Tempe.
Arizona State, in its third-year under coach Dennis Erickson — whose resume would be longer than a list of Madonna’s exes but includes the Seahawks, Washington State and Idaho — is 3-2 overall.
Offensively, they are led by senior QB Danny Sullivan, who has struggled at times but has thrown for 1,008 yards and four TDs. Their leading rusher is Dmitri Nance with 366 yards and five TDs. The leading receiver is Kyle Williams, battling a hamstring injury but among the statistical leaders in the Pac-10 with 368 yards.
Here are ASU’s stat totals and ranks among all FBS schools:
Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 1754 (96)
Passing Yards: 1072 (78)
Rushing Yards: 682 (86)
Points per game: 29.8 (45)
Yards per game: 350.8 (79)
Touchdowns: 15 (78)
Field Goals: 8 (34)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 1109 (2)
Passing Yards: 861 (15)
Rushing Yards: 248 (2)
Points per game: 15.8 (20)
Yards per game: 221.8 (3)
Touchdowns: 10 (26)
Field Goals: 3 (13)
And here is ASU’s schedule to date:
Date Opponent Result / Time
9/5 vs. Idaho State W 50 – 3
9/19 vs. Louisiana-Monroe W 38 – 14
9/26 at 21 Georgia L 17 – 20
10/3 vs. Oregon State L 17 – 28
10/10 at Washington State W 27 – 14
Now a few words from a beat writer who covers the team and UW offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and defensive coordinator Nick Holt.
First, Nussmeier on ASU’s defense:
“They are big, physical and fast, a very talented group. Those two ends (James Brooks, Dexter Davis) are as good as anybody’s in the country. Their middle linebacker (true freshman Vontaze Burfict) is a young player that you watch each and every week he continues to get better and better and he can lay the hat on you now. He will come down hill and light you up. They are fast and physical is the biggest thing about them.
“They are so physical in the front seven, they play downhill and they get off blocks. The biggest thing we’ve got to do is maintain our blocks and get movement at the line of scrimmage because they don’t stay blocked.
“They maybe have the best front we have seen. Not sure if they are as big (a front as UW has seen) but they may be the fastest front across the board that we have seen.”
Now a few words from Holt (which I actually transcribed from his weekly appearance on KJR-AM Thursday since I forgot to ask him yesterday, so thanks to them for this:
“I think they have a good running back (Nance) he is really effective. But more than anything else, they do a nice job with a couple of their formations. They run a lot of three wides and four wides. It’s similar to Arizona, but they run the ball effectively out of three receivers. They like the trips formation (three receivers to one side_ a big overload formation. They do that more than anybody else in the Pac-10. And they have some really. really good concepts off of it. So you have to play the run to the tight end side but then they have three wide receivers out to the other side of the field. So if you overload the run they’ve got a nice passing game out there. So they’ve got a couple of things you don’t see much in terms of formation.
“Personnel-wise, I think they’ve got a good, solid club. The QB is a big kid who can throw, but he’s not a great scrambler so hopefully we can take advantage of some of that stuff.”
And finally, a few words on ASU from Arizona Republic writer Jeff Metcalfe, who covers the team:
“There was never any doubt that Arizona State’s hopes of avoiding a second consecutive losing season – something that’s never happened to Dennis Erickson as a college head coach – hinged on a defense that was No. 44 nationally with a bullet in 2008.
“Sure enough, the Sun Devils are continuing their run up the defensive chart in Erickson’s third season, ranking No. 2 in rush defense and No. 3 in total defense going into the Washington game Saturday.
“Those lofty statistics are not simply the product of ASU’s strength of schedule being 100 places lower than the Huskies according to Sagarin computer rankings. The Sun Devils are fast, athletic and deep in the front seven with enough youth to imagine that the best is still ahead.
“Offense is another story, but that was known before the season began too. So the Sun Devils are what we thought they were to borrow from Dennis Green, meaning they play mostly close games that hinge on field position, turnovers and kicking.”