Another lower tier opponent, another win.
There wasn’t much drama in this one. ASU’s Omar Bolden returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and there wasn’t any looking back. That’s probably a good thing, because it wasn’t much closer to halftime that the Devils had actually put the game out of reach.
It wasn’t as clear of a victory as Idaho State had been, but ASU did what it needed to in what could have been a dangerous trap game. Danny Sullivan looked much crisper, the running game – especially Dimitri Nance – was effective, and the defense continued to show that they can be something special.
Nonetheless, the stands were pretty empty and there’s still very little buzz about the Sun Devils this year. I’m still predicting a season ending record around .500, but given the two victories and a first-ever roadtrip to Georgia on the horizon, you’d expect a bit more from fans.
Hell, they should be showing up just to see true freshman phenom Vontaze Burfict step onto the field. He’s been stellar – better than advertised, actually, which is pretty amazing feat given the hype that surrounded his signing.
Dennis Erickson seems to be doing fine calling plays, with what’s seemed like a slow rollout of the playbook. Chris McGaha is back to making his circus catches. It’s hard to tell given the competition level thus far, but the offensive line hasn’t been overly offensive, an improvement over the previous two years.
That being said, the pass rush needs to improve. With such a heralded defense, and plenty of depth in the line, you’d expect ASU to have been setting sack records against the likes of ISU and UML. The pass protection still needs to improve. And while Sully has done a great job of managing the game – throwing the ball away and failing to turn the ball – he still has some growing to do. I’d especially like to see him connect on the deep ball with one of the talented receivers.
All in all, it’s about what you’d expect from an ASU team that’s likely to finish in the middle of the pack.