Thursday, December 22, 2011
Las Vegas Bowl: Three keys for ASU
By Ted Miller
Three keys for Arizona State (6-6) if it's going to shock the world and upset Boise State.
1. Fast and physical: All things being equal, it's not unreasonable to at least mostly subscribe to AQ conference snobbism -- Arizona State should have bigger, faster players than Boise State. That obviously didn't help Georgia when the Broncos took the lumber to the Bulldogs in the season opener, but the Sun Devils should be able to win many one-on-one matchups and make plays in space. Somehow, they need to exploit that superiority. Or is it mythical superiority?
2. Disrupt Boise State's rhythm: Boise State is 10th in the nation in scoring defense and ninth in scoring offense. The Broncos pretty much do everything well. The Sun Devils need to take away what they most want to do on both sides of the ball and force them into a plan B. Easier said than done against a team with no obvious weaknesses. We were going to say the Sun Devils need to force turnovers and pressure Kellen Moore, but the Broncos are 15th in the nation in turnover margin -- they protect the football -- and are No. 1 in sacks allowed, surrendering fewer than one per game. Arizona State should try to do those things, sure, but most other teams have failed.
3. Smart and efficient play, yes, but playing loose and frenzied, too: Simply, if Arizona State has a bunch of turnovers and penalties it's going to get stomped. But the Sun Devils under Dennis Erickson have always been edgy and messy. They posted some of their better wins by mixing athletic, big plays with boneheaded ones. It's unlikely they reinvent themselves on the final day of his tenure. So go crazy, Sun Devils. Jump around. Play until the echo of the whistle. Perhaps get Boise State off its game with extracurriculars. If both teams are sloppy, you'd like the Sun Devils' chances a lot better.