The Arizona State Sun Devils face the Washington State Cougars in their final home game of the season. It's senior day, meaning players like Cameron Marshall, Brandon Magee and Keelan Johnson will be running out of Tillman Tunnel for the last time.
The Sun Devils face the lowly Washington State Cougars, who rank 105th in the nation in scoring offense, only averaging 20.7 points per game. The Cougars do come to Tempe with the nation's 6th best passing offense, however Washington State has lost seven straight games and have not won a conference game under new head coach Mike Leach. Here are the keys to victory for the Sun Devils.
Limit the big play
The Cougars can throw the ball around the field. Whether it is Jeff Tuel or Connor Halliday, Washington State brings the best passing conference in the Pac-12 to Tempe. It will be important for the secondary to not give up long pass plays.
Against Oregon State, the Sun Devils gave up three touchdowns of 49 yards or more. Todd Graham attributed that to mental mistakes by the secondary, that cannot happen against Washington State. The Cougars will not be able to put too many long drives on the Sun Devil defense, however if ASU gives up some big plays, the Cougars may hang around.
End the game early
ASU cannot let Washington State hang around in this game. The more an inferior team sticks around, the more confidence they get and the better they play. The Sun Devils need to put the Cougars out of reach by halftime and make senior day a stress free affair for Sun Devil fans.
Run the football
Taylor Kelly has attempted 30 passes in each of the last three games. If you remember, this was an Arizona State team that was supposed to feed Cameron Marshall 30 times a game. The Sun Devils have gone away from the running game over the course of their four game losing streak.
D.J. Foster ran the ball three times against USC and five times against Oregon State. Cameron Marshall has 16 carries combined in Arizona State's last two games. The Sun Devils need to go back to what they did best early in the season, running the football. It takes pressure off Taylor Kelly, it eats up clock and it sustains drives.