Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Midseason report: Arizona State
By Ted Miller
Arizona State's season has been up-and-down like no other team in the Pac-12.
Up: A win -- albeit controversially -- over No. 18 Wisconsin thrust the Sun Devils into the national ranking.
Down: Arizona State gets dominated for three quarters by Stanford before an abortive rally in the fourth makes the 42-28 final tally respectable.
Up: The Sun Devils romp over USC 62-41 and get ranked again.
Down: The Sun Devils are upset by Notre Dame 37-34, making the Fighting Irish's previously mediocre offense look like a finely tuned machine.
So what's next? More of the same? Or will there be any consistency?
It's tempting to call this weekend's visit by No. 20 Washington a critical matchup that could determine the ultimate trajectory of the season. But what if the Sun Devils beat the Huskies, get ranked again and then lose at Washington State on Oct. 31?
When it's on, this team is good enough to compete for the South Division title. But it could just as easily finish 6-6.
Offensive MVP: This is a tough call between do-everything running back Marion Grice and QB Taylor Kelly, but Kelly gets the nod as the guy in the cockpit of the Sun Devils offense. He ranks 20th in the nation in ESPN's Total QBR rating. He has completed 62 percent of his passes with 327.5 yards passing per game. He has 16 touchdown passes and six interceptions. He also has rushed for 165 yards and a TD.
Defensive MVP: Safety Alden Darby is the vocal leader of the Sun Devil defense, and he has been the unit's most consistent performer. He ranks second on the team with 29 tackles. He also has two interceptions, six pass breakups and a forced fumble.