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2018 Game Five – CU v. Arizona State – October 6, 2018

Last game between the two schools … October 7, 2017 … Arizona State 41, Colorado 30

Arizona State scored 24 fourth quarter points, erasing a ten-point deficit to defeat Colorado, 41-30. The Sun Devils went for 583 yards of offense, including 381 yards on the ground. ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins passed for 202 yards, rushed for 95 more, while running back Demario Richard had 25 carries for 189 yards and a touchdown.

The Buffs had leads of 10-0, 17-7 and 27-17, but squandered multiple opportunities to put away the Sun Devils. Steven Montez completed 23-of-40 passes for 345 yards, while Phillip Lindsay had 140 yards of total offense (80 yards rushing; 60 yards receiving). It made little difference, though, as the Arizona State had seven second half possessions, scoring on five of them.

The loss left Colorado with a 5-5 overall record, 2-5 in Pac-12 play … and in last place in the Pac-12 South.

The essay for the game, “Gold Games“, can be found here


2017 Arizona State results – 7-6 (6-3 in Pac-12 play – lost 52-31 to North Carolina State in the Sun Bowl)

– Returning starters, Offense: 7 … Returning starters, Defense: 4


– 2017 Arizona State National Rankings (Offense)

— Scoring – 42nd … 31.8 points per game  (Colorado scoring defense – 74th … 28.2 points per game)

— Rushing – 51st … 175.5 yards per game   (Colorado rushing defense – 108th … 208.0 yards per game)

— Passing – 43rd … 255.7 yards per game   (Colorado passing defense – 94th … 242.6 yards per game)

— Total – 37th … 431.2 yards per game  (Colorado total defense – 110th … 450.6 yards per game)

– 2017 Arizona State National Rankings (Defense)

— Scoring – 103rd … 32.8 points per game  (Colorado scoring offense – 81st … 26.4 points per game)

— Rushing – 78th … 174.8 yards per game (Colorado rushing offense – 74th … 157.2 yards per game)

— Passing – 121st … 274.9 yards per game (Colorado passing offense – 39th … 260.4 yards per game)

— Total – 109th … 449.7 yards per game  (Colorado total offense – 48th … 417.6 yards per game)


Arizona State storylines … 

– You wanted national attention, Arizona State? Well, you got it  …

Call it … The Great Experiment.

The last few hires at Colorado – Rick Neuheisel (up-and-coming coordinator with CU ties), Gary Barnett (successful Northwestern coach), Dan Hawkins (successful Boise State coach), Jon Embree (up-and-coming coach with CU ties), and Mike MacIntyre (successful San Jose State coach) – all had at least some logic to them.

The latest Arizona State hire, however, will either prove to be a brilliant move … or a colossal mistake.

Welcome to the Herm Edwards era at Arizona State.

There were 21 new coaching hires in 2018 … and the Herm Edwards hire is being almost universally scorned.

From Athlon … (ranking 21st out of 21 hires) … Arizona State’s decision to replace Todd Graham, who went 31-23 in the Pac-12 in six seasons, with Edwards, who has not coached since 2008 and has not been in the collegiate game since 1989, is one of the most puzzling decisions in recent history. This might work out well for Arizona State, which has long been considered a sleeping giant. But it could also be a giant disaster. The guess here is that the latter scenario is more likely.

From Lindys’ … Good luck finding anyone who’ll argue that Arizona State outdid rival Arizona on the hiring trail. Edwards is essentially an NFL lifer – and hasn’t even coached at that level in a decade – so what, exactly, has prepared him to step into the muck and mire of a middling college program? Maybe athletic director Ray Anderson will laugh last at a sea of doubters, but this is one of those have-to-see-it-to-believe-it scenarios. 

It will interesting to watch how well Edwards will do in Tempe.

The only thing we know for sure … is that every move will be scrutinized.

Players make plays

Arizona State will have its fourth offensive coordinator in as many years.

(Re-read that sentence, and think about how the CU message boards would go nuts over such turnover).

The good news for new offensive coordinator Rob Likens (who served last season as the wide receivers coach/passing coordinator at ASU after two seasons as the offensive coordinator … at Kansas) is that many of the stars on offense return. Quarterback Manny Wilkens is finally a senior, coming off of a 2017 season in which he threw for 3,270 yards and 20 touchdowns. His main target will be N’Keal Harry, who caught seven of those touchdown passes, and is a legitimate All-American candidate.

The Sun Devils lose running backs Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage (the former CU commit), with sophomore Eno Benjamin stepping into the starting role. Benjamin will run behind one of the most experienced offensive lines in the Pac-12, bolstered by graduate transfers Casey Tucker (Stanford) and Roy Hemsley (USC).

Arizona State will have to try and out-score opponents in 2018, as Herm Edwards & Co. inherit one of the worst defenses in the nation (yes, even worse than CU’s).

New defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales (fresh off of one season as the offensive coordinator at San Diego State) will install a 3-3-5 defensive scheme, with the main question being whether the Sun Devils have the personnel to pull it off.

Exactly four starters return on defense – three defensive backs and a linebacker – though the Sun Devils do welcome back Koron Crump, a 2016 second-team All-Pac-12 selection who missed nearly all of the 2017 season with a knee injury.

Sophomore cornerback Chase Lucas was the Pac-12’s only freshman all-league player last fall. Lucas, with 59 tackles, is the returning leader in tackles for the ASU defense. You can look at that stat as documentation of Lucas’ talent … or a note as to how little returning talent there is on the Arizona State defense.



How the Buffs fit into the Sun Devils’ 2018 schedule

By early October, we will know a great deal more about how Arizona State is developing under its new head coach.

After a very winnable home opener against UT-San Antonio (ranked as the No. 114 team in the nation by Lindy’s; 104th by Athlon’s), Arizona State faces a litmus test against a very good Michigan State team before taking out on the road to face one of the Mountain West favorites, San Diego State.

Arizona State will stay on the road for its Pac-12 opener, taking on Pac-12 North favorite, Washington, before returning home for its first truly winnable game in four weeks … Oregon State.

After taking on the Buffs in Boulder on October 6th, ASU takes on Stanford, USC, and Utah to close out October. Suffice it to say that Arizona State fans are looking at Colorado as one of the best chances at a victory in 2018.

For the Buffs, the Arizona State game is also being looked upon as a winnable game.

Colorado had leads of 10-0, 17-7 and 27-17 last November in Tempe, but couldn’t hold on for what would have been a sixth victory and a bowl bid. This fall, the Arizona State game is at home, and comes at the end of an opening five game stretch in which CU leaves the state only once (for the Nebraska game September 8th).


Bottom Line

Where will the Buffs be come Week Five? If Colorado has a 4-1 record (loss to either Nebraska or UCLA), or, heaven help us, a 5-0 record, the game against the Sun Devils may have a 2016 feel to it. That fall, the Buffs were 4-2 when the Sun Devils came to town. The result? A 40-16 romp for the Buffs which propelled Colorado towards a Pac-12 South title.

On the other hand, if Colorado limps into the Family Weekend with a 2-3 record, or, heaven forbid, a 1-4 record, the Arizona State game could be the Buffs’ last chance to right the ship (with road games against USC and Washington to follow).

Colorado will have an extra day to prepare for Arizona State, taking on UCLA on a Friday night the weekend before. The Buffs will be able to sit at home and watch the Sun Devils as they take on the Oregon State Beavers.

Right now, the Arizona State game – what with the Sun Devils’ lack of depth on the roster, the porous defense, the tough September schedule, and the Herm Edwards factor – looks like a Colorado victory.

We’ll take what we can get …


6 Replies to “Scouting the Opposition – Arizona State”

  1. Arizona State will have its fourth offensive coordinator in as many years.

    (Re-read that sentence, and think about how the CU message boards would go nuts over such turnover) Okay biting………..

    Well now…

    pac 12 rank conference games



    Ave 5 year…6.4……..8.2
    Ave 3 year…6.33…….8.0



    Moral of the story. If they don’t execute fire em. No need to wait 5 years.

    1. Did I say that the revolving door led to poor results?
      Um … nope.
      All I said was that if CU had rotated through four coordinators in four years, that the CU message boards would be having a field day.
      Nothing more; nothing less.

      You’re welcome, by the way, for being allowed to turn this message board into your personal forum. Later this weekend, you will have the chance to (literally) put your money where your mouth is 😉

      1. Nope Stu you didn’t say that. Nor did I. Oh wait I did say “if they don’t execute fire em” Five years is 2, maybe 2 years to many.

        The boards have been having an Buff OC field day for 3 years. Not many saw the light back then but many saw it after last year. I recall you as well.

        Hey I can’t help if I like to post and your other “followers” don’t.

        Can’t wait to see what you got cooking.

        I’m retired and poor but will look at it.


        Note: I don’t do “pay for subscriptions so……………..”

        Note 2:From the link on your CU daily post…..

        87. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado

        Record With Current Team: 6th season, 25-38
        Where He’ll Be In Five Years: Working as an assistant for an NFL coaching staff.
        Wow and Herm back to ESPN

        Gonna be fun to watch
        – Colorado 2018 Team Preview

  2. Eliot still has to prove to me he knows what he is doing….as well as Drake. Hopefully the D line wont rag doll and the LBs wont have to make almost every single tackle

    1. Can you say exposed? This game alone last year should have ushered in the youth movement at ILB. Painful to watch the last quarter of the game.
      This should be a payback game

      1. Oh come on EP, you know it’s the players. What you trying to do here put some responsibility on the coaches? Come on you know the Mantra!
        “Players make plays, Players win games.” All, including —, embrace it.

        But it is hard for them to swallow “You are what your record says you are”

        I dunno EP, just how it is.


        Note: I expect the D to be better. I am hoping elliot has gotten his grove back

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