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Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham expects his team to face the best offensive line and running game the Sun Devils will have faced up to this point in the season when ASU goes to Berkeley this weekend to face the struggling California Golden Bears.
The Devils (3-1, 1-0 in Pac-12) could break into the Top 25 with a win Saturday.
"We're playing the best offensive line, the best running game. They've got three running backs that are really quality. They resemble a lot of how our offense looks as far as the depth at the running back position," Graham said in his weekly Monday news conference.
Graham said he watched film on the Golden Bears and thought they should have won the Ohio State game. Cal is 1-3 overall, including a home loss to Nevada in the season opener.
Graham said he's proud of his team and sees how hard it is playing, but must clean up penalties and mental errors to get better. See the rest of his comments here.
"We've got to stay true to who we are and make sure we play that way," Graham said.
For more on the Sun Devils, head over to House of Sparky.
An updated look at the Pac-12 power rankings. The Oregon Ducks lead the pack, while Oregon State and ASU made a move following impressive wins.
There was a lot to be pleased with after the Arizona State Sun Devils' 37-7 dismantling of the Utah Utes, and House of Spraky's Brad Denny had a number of high marks handed out in his postion-by-postion post-game grades.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly did very well, getting an A from Denny:
Let's just go ahead and throw that "game manager" title out the window. Once again, Taylor Kelly impressed with his playmaking skills, proving that he is a player who can win games, not just "not lose" them. He was sensational for most of Saturday night, completing 19 of his 26 throws for a career-high 326 yards, and a trio of touchdown passes, all without a turnover against what-was a top 20 defense nationally.
The running back crew for the Sun Devils did their job on Saturday, getting a B for their efforts:
Running Back: B
Another game, another relatively quiet night from Cameron Marshall on the ground. He carried just seven times for 14 yards, but did score a first quarter touchdown that gave him sole possession of third place on the school's all-time rushing touchdown list with 33. He also caught three passes for 30 yards and another touchdown. DJ Foster was again superb with just 11 touches. He ran for a team-high 70 yards on just 10 carries and caught a 26-yard pass. Marion Grice found the endzone again, this time on a 10-yard reception, but gained just 10 yards on his four carries. James Morrison saw his first touches of the season, gaining nine yards on three carries in garbage time. A bright spot: the group did not have a fumble.
The receivers were also on point, according to Denny:
Wide Receiver: A
The most maligned group on the roster, the wide receivers had been largely absent over the first three weeks. Not Saturday. Rashad Ross was excellent, shaking off his awful game against Missouri with a sterling effort against Utah. He started the scoring with a great 38-yard touchdown catch in which he had a nice juke, and led the team with 87-yards on his five catches. Jamal Miles had 59 yards on his four catches, and Kevin Ozier had a great 52-yard reception which set up a field goal. Alonzo Agwuenu had his first catch as a Sun Devil, a nifty 19-yarder down the left sideline.
As for the defensive side of the ball, they played a great game as well, starting with the D-line:
Defensive Line: A
This grade would be worthy just for the performance of Will Sutton alone. He was again a dominant force, causing a major disruption to both the Utah running and passing games. Sutton made four tackles, one for loss, and had half a sack, but his constant harassment made a world of difference, such as his pressure that forced a bad throw by Jon Hays that was intercepted by Keelan Johnson. Junior Onyeali was effective off the edge, and delivered the hit of the season on his one sack. Tackles Jaxon Hood and Mike Pennel helped disrupt the Utah line enough to hold the Utes to a paltry 2.4 yards-per-carry.
The linebackers handeld their business, getting an A from Denny:
Brandon Magee and Chris Young are becoming a terrifying 1-2 punch. Young continues to be a devastating playmaker, with his uncanny range and sure tackling. He made eight tackles, including another 2.5 for loss, and made 1.5 sacks. He also forced a fumble that was recovered by Magee, who led the team with 10 tackles. For good measure, Magee also forced a fumble of his own. After a very slow start. Steffon Martin made some plays, including two tackles-for-loss. Devilbacker Carl Bradford had 2.5 tackles-for-loss and a sack. Perhaps the best stat of the night was John White IV-who had over 1,500 yards for Utah last year-having just 18 yards on 14 carries.
As did the secondary, also receiving an A:
Utah is not a throwing team, and they didn't do much of it on Saturday-just 16 attempts-but they do have several talented and dangerous threats on the outside who were held in check. Starting wide receivers DeVonte Christopher and Dres Anderson did not make a catch. Deveron Carr had a good game in coverage, and Keelan Johnson delivered several big hits and had the lone interception of the evening. As a group, the Utes managed just 117 yards through the air.
Arizona State will now take the momentum from this victory and put it toward the Cal Golden Bears, a team the Sun Devils take on next weekend from California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif.
For more on the Sun Devils, head over to House of Sparky.
After a marginal showing against Missouri, the Arizona State offense came to life once again under the lights of Sun Devil Stadium. The Sun Devils put up 512 yards of total offense against a Utah defense that was ranked 15th in the country coming into Saturday night's game.
To the surprise of some, it was the arm of Taylor Kelly and the hands of his receivers that hurt Utah the most in ASU's 37-7 victory. Kelly threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns in just over three quarters of work. Redshirt freshman Michael Eubank came into the game in the fourth quarter and completed 4/5 passes for 46 yards. In total, ASU quarterbacks went 23/31 with 372 yards and three touchdowns.
Perhaps the most impressive unit of the night was the ASU wide receivers, who received much criticism after last week's loss against Missouri. Nine different receivers caught passes for ASU Saturday night.
"That's the way the offense works," said ASU head coach Todd Graham about having nine receivers with receptions tonight. "The bottom line is winning. I don't care about anything else but winning and that's what we have to do to win," said Graham.
Rashad Ross led the team with 87 receiving yards on five catches. Ross had receptions of 29 yards and 38 yards, the latter being for a touchdown that put ASU up 7-0. Tight end Chris Coyle had another solid game for the Sun Devils. The junior notched six catches for 62 yards, including a long of 27.
Graham also complemented on his offensive line, a unit that allowed three sacks.
"I thought our OL did a good job, we just have to eliminate procedural penalties," said Graham. "Good players win games and that's what happened tonight," said Graham.
Graham insists there is still more to work on says the team will improve off of Saturday's performance.
"We had a lot of teachable moments for Taylor (Kelly) and Michael (Eubank)," said Graham. "You have to take what the defense gives you."
ASU hopes this potent passing attack carries through to next week when the Sun Devils go on the road to face California.
The Arizona State Sun Devils dominated the Utah Utes Saturday night in route to a 37-7 victory in front of 58,107 fans at Sun Devil Stadium. Arizona State played a complete game, finishing with 512 yards of total offense.
The Sun Devils scored on their first five possessions, including four touchdowns. Taylor Kelly led ASU through the air, as the redshirt sophomore went 13-17 with 259 yards and three passing touchdowns in the first half. Rashad Ross, Marion Grice and Cameron Marshall all had receiving touchdowns in the first half, and the Sun Devils led 31-7 after two quarters of play.
The ASU defense was dominant all game, as the Sun Devils forced six Utah punts and three turnovers. Brandon Magee led the team with 10 tackles, and Chris Young finished the night with eight tackles, including 2.5 for loss. The Sun Devils sacked Utah quarterbacks four times on Saturday night and held Utah to only 117 passing yards.
ASU had 170 rushing yards, led by D.J. Foster with 70 yards on 10 carries. Cameron Marshall finished the game with seven carries for 14 yards and a touchdown. His one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter placed him in sole possession of 3rd place on the ASU all-time rushing touchdown list.
The Sun Devils finished with 372 passing yards between Taylor Kelly and Michael Eubank. Kelly finished the night 19/26 with 326 passing yards and three touchdowns. Rashad Ross led all receivers 87 on five receptions. Chris Coyle also had five catches for 62 yards.
Arizona State travels to play California next weekend in their first Pac-12 road game.
For complete ASU football coverage head over to House of Sparky.
The Arizona State Sun Devils lead the Utah Utes 31-7 at halftime in Tempe. The Sun Devils have been dominant all night on both sides of the ball.
After the ASU defense forced Utah to turn the ball over on downs on its first possession, ASU went 64 yards in four plays for their first score of the game. Taylor Kelly hit Rashad Ross for a 38-yard touchdown pass to give the Sun Devils a 7-0 lead. Ross has four catches for 83 yards and a touchdown in the first half.
After a Utah three and out, ASU found the endzone again on their second offensive possession. Aided by a Rashad Ross 29-yard reception that took the ball inside the Utah 5 yard-line, Cameron Marshall was able to find the endzone on a one-yard touchdown run. The run put Marshall in sole possession of 3rd place on the all-time ASU rushing touchdown list.
The Sun Devils took advantage of a Utah turnover, as on their third offensive possession of the game, Taylor Kelly found Marion Grice for a 10-yard touchdown pass to give ASU a 21-0 lead.
Utah got on the board early in the second quarter after the Utes drove 91 yards in 11 plays. Karl Williams capped the Utah drive off with a two-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jon Hayes to pull Utah within two touchdowns.
ASU responded with 10 unanswered points in the second quarter to go up 31-7, and that's the score the teams would head into the half on.
The Sun Devils have out gained Utah 347-155 in the first half, including 233-47 through the air. Taylor Kelly went 12/16 with 233 yards and three touchdowns through the air. The ASU defense has three sacks in the first 30 minutes and the defense has held Utah to 73 passing yards.
For complete ASU football coverage head over to House of Sparky
The Arizona St. Sun Devils are coming off a frustrating loss to Mizzou and need to get back on track immediately as Pac-12 play begins. As the Utah Utes come to town on Saturday evening, there are many things the Devils need to do well if they hope to win.
SB Nation's ASU blog, House of Sparky, has five keys to the game for the Devils if they want to win. As editor Brad Denny mentions, a wide receiver stepping up down the field would be huge. The unit struggled as a whole last week.
It's beginning to feel like a broken record. "Someone step up at wide receiver" the fans demand and the media reports, only for the storyline to continue into the next week after another disappointing performance.
The tremendous talent of Jamal Miles, the strong springs of Rashad Ross and J.J. Holliday and the intriguing talent of Alonzo Agwuenu have yet to translate onto the field. Kevin Ozier has been the most consistent wide receiver, and he has just eight catches for 73 yards.
Last week, the group was plagued by drops, and their inability to make plays allowed Missouri to lock down on top target Chris Coyle and limit him from getting downfield. It's becoming imperative that someone from the group establishes themselves as a viable option.
Kickoff from Sun Devil Stadium is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. locally.
Coming off their first loss of the season a week ago, the Arizona State Sun Devils (2-1) will try to rebound on Saturday when they open Pac-12 play at home against Utah (2-1).
The Sun Devils started the season 2-0, but lost 24-20 to Missouri last week. Even with the loss, Arizona State has been impressive in the early season, ranking in the top 25 in the country in both points for and points allowed. Quarterback Taylor Kelly didn't play his best game against Missouri, but he has still played well this season, completing 72.3 percent of his passes. After rushing for 1,050 yards and 18 touchdowns a season ago, Cameron Marshall has gotten off to a slow start this season. Marshall has just 81 rushing yards through three games. He gamed 15 or less yards in two of ASU's three games.
While Arizona State is coming off a tough loss, the Utes are fresh of a huge 24-21 win against rival BYU. The Utah offense will get a big boost against ASU as leading rushing John White IV is expected to return after missing the game against BYU. White has rushed for 215 yards in two games this season after racking up 1,519 yards last season. White rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown against Arizona State last season.
ASU leads the all-time series 17-6 including eight straight wins. Utah's last win against the Sun Devils came in 1976.
Game time/date: Sept. 22, 10 p.m. ET
Location: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
TV Schedule: Pac-12 Network
Odds: ASU favored by 4 points.
The Arizona St. Sun Devils had little problems with the Utah Utes on the road last season, cruising to a 35-14 win after a couple of scores early in the second half. One of the reasons ASU was so successful is because they contained and confused Utah quarterback Jon Hays.
Despite entering the season as the No. 2 QB in Salt Lake City, Hays has since become the starter due to injuries. After struggling against the Devils last year, Hays is looking for different results this time around. Here is the latest from Jeff Metcalfe of the AZ Republic.
"That game seems a lot longer than a year ago," Hays said. "I've got a lot more confidence in myself this year. My teammates see that and have more confidence in me."
Hays is back starting for Utah (2-1) after beginning another season behind Jordan Wynn. But Wynn made it to only the second game before another shoulder injury requiring surgery ended his career. With 6-foot-6 freshman Travis Wilson not ready, senior Hays was solid (18-of-27 passing, 196 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions) in a 24-21 victory over BYU last week.
"I'm more experienced going into it," Hays said. "I can't really describe the difference. I'm just a lot more comfortable with what we're doing."
The Sun Devils and Utes are scheduled to kickoff from Tempe at 7:00 p.m. PT.
For more on ASU football, be sure to check out House of Sparky.
Arizona State gets their Pac-12 season started Saturday at 7:00 p.m. PT when the Utah Utes (2-1) come into Sun Devil Stadium.
Running back Cameron Marshall's senior season hasn't gotten off to the start many expected, but that hasn't kept him from fulfilling his role as one of the Sun Devils' team leaders.
Marshall has gained just 81 yards on 25 carries during Arizona State's first three games. This comes after he ran for 1,050 yards and 18 touchdowns a season ago. While some players might get frustrated, or voice their displeasure with the lack of touches, Marshall has continued to practice hard.
"As a competitor I want to be out there every single play, (but) obviously, that's not possible, " Marshall said Thursday, according to AZCentral.com. "I trust this coaching staff. I trust any scheme that's going to allow us to win games, and we've won two so far. And I think we have a good plan moving forward."
Marshall missed practice time earlier this season with a hamstring injury, something head coach Todd Graham suggested might have led to his slow start. Marshall has practiced this week and could see an increase in touches as ASU opens Pac-12 play against Utah.
The Utah Utes have put an emphasis on size. Head coach Kyle Wittingham told The Salt Lake Tribune that upon entering the Pac-12, he knew the biggest deficiency would be along the offensive and defensive lines. So the Utes have focused on beefing up.
Via The Salt Lake Tribune:
Bulking up the lines was a priority for them in the offseason and now they boast two of the biggest lines in the league. The offensive line has an average weight of 309.4 pounds and the defensive front has an average weight of 287.5.
The Sun Devils know it too. Defensive lineman Will Sutton told House of Sparky that the pressure of beating Utah lies on his crew up front.
"Stop the run," Sutton said. "They're under center, running the rock. They're going to run the ball and they have big offensive linemen. We just gotta stop the run."
Stopping the run game led by running back John White IV will be easier said than done. The 5'8, 188 pound back missed the game against BYU, but Wittingham said he'll be back against ASU, according to the Deseret News. White rushed for 119 yards and 96 yards in the two games he played.
The UCLA Bruins open Pac-12 play against the Oregon St. Beavers in Week 4 of the 2012 college football schedule. The USC Trojans will face the California Golden Bears.
A lot of things did not go well for the Arizona St. Sun Devils last weekend against Missouri. One of the areas criticized most by the Devils faithful was the odd usage of quarterbacks Taylor Kelly and Michael Eubank. After finding a nice balance in the first two games -- two games ASU won easily -- the coaching staff seemed to occasionally struggle with putting the right QB in during various situations.
This was especially the case late in the fourth quarter, and it might have cost Arizona State the game. Here is what Todd Graham had to say about determining when he elects to send Kelly or Eubank into the game.
"I don't want the first time we work on something (to be) when we step on that field. We have a specific plan of what we want to do. We go with what we work on. That's something that didn't work out the way we wanted Saturday night. We did have a miscommunication on one of the plays in the red zone, which is totally unacceptable and we have to get that corrected as coaches. But I look back at it, the first two weeks, everything worked smoothly. The third week we come up about an inch short. It's something we need to definitely improve on."
The Sun Devils will look to get back on track against Utah this weekend in their Pac-12 opener.
For more on Kelly, Eubank and Devils football throughout the season, be sure to check out House of Sparky.
The Arizona State Sun Devils have a lot to fix before Saturday's game with the Utah Utes. First and foremost is getting all the special teams errors corrected, coach Todd Graham told Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic:
"That's the one thing every week we got to win," Graham said of special teams. "We got to do a better job coaching than what we're doing there. ... We can't have games like that."
Consider that ASU kicker Alex Garoutte made an error on the opening kickoff, leading to a huge Missouri kick return. Jamal Miles fumbled a punt return that set up a quick Missouri score. The punt coverage unit gave up 72 yards on three punts. An eleven-yard punt resulted from a mishandled snap. And of course there's the failed extra point due to a mishandled snap.
If the Sun Devils had corrected at least one or two of those errors, it's likely they'd be 3-0 right now going into their Pac-12 season opener. ASU will look to correct these mistakes in their opening conference matchup.
The Sun Devils are 4-point favorites in the opening betting line of their home matchup against the Utah Utes this Saturday.
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