The Arizona State Sun Devils face the Illinois Fighting Illini in their first real test of the season tonight at Sun Devil Stadium. The two teams are similar, both have new head coaches and both are 1-0 on the season.
The Sun Devils are fresh off a 63-6 thrashing of NAU, and the Fighting Illini beat Western Michigan 24-7 in their season opener. One thing Illinois does well is stop the run, the Fighting Illini have allowed 12 rushing yards combined in their last two games including -6 in the season opener against Western Michigan.
Click the jump to find out what the keys to victory are for the Sun Devils.
1. Take the Pressure Off Taylor Kelly: The Sun Devils can achieve this goal in a multitude of ways. A steady and effective running game will take the pressure off Kelly and allow him into his own rhythm. Another way for ASU to take pressure off its quarterback is by getting the lead early and playing ahead.
2. Limit Mistakes: Illinois forced four turnovers in their season opening victory against Western Michigan. ASU did put the ball on turf multiple times last game, so ASU has to limit both turnovers, mental mistakes and turnovers. ASU will not have the margin of error against Illinois that it did against NAU.
3. Get to the Quarterback: Whether Nathan Scheelhaase plays or not, ASU must put pressure on whoever the Illinois quarterback is. Scheelhaase was sacked 34 times in 2011, and a quarterback under duress is more likely to make bad decisions with the football.