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Back into game mode...and Rudy's pain.

Jon Hargis and Tom Njunge, welcome to your nightmare. Nick Reed is coming to Tempe.

Uhhh…let’s just get past this: pronounce it “nun-gee”.

Hargis and Njunge have started the past two ASU games at left and right tackle respectively. I’m going to assume they’ll start at the tackle spots Saturday ‘cause I can’t find anything that suggests otherwise. This week their challenge is to protect QB Rudy Carpenter from taking a double-digit ass whoopin’.

Oregon’s all-american defensive end Nick Reed is the Duck most likely to deliver the pain. Recall last year's game between the Ducks and Sun Devils in Eugene. Oregon dropped Carpenter a total of nine times. Reed led the harassment with 3.5 of the sack total in a 35-23 win over the then no. 6 ranked Devils.

The list of Ducks who have played well below the hype this season is lengthy. But it does not include Reed. All he’s done in his senior season is lead the Pac-10 with eight sacks. That stuff you see on the ground? That’s drool. Defensive line slobber. Nick Reed was here and he’s hungry like a big dog for a nice helping of QB.

So Hargis, Njunge…enjoy.

Har_medium      Nj_medium

Let’s look first at Hargis, who at left tackle probably will face Reed more times than not. He’s 6-4, 310 lbs., a sophomore from Mesa, AZ. There’s not much to tell, since Hargis played defensive tackle last year. Hargis has a reputation as a tough guy (I’m not going to argue with that), but Quick Nick versus a first year, inexperienced left tackle…advantage Reed.

Njunge is a 6-5, 280-pound junior from Pasadena, CA. He transferred to ASU from Pasadena City College, and considered him the #11 ranked OL junior college prospect. Another first year starter.

Let’s be honest. The main thing ASU has going with these guys is… They aren’t the same guys who were blocking Reed last year.

How do the Devils try to slow Reed with two first-year tackles? Expect to see help come mostly from the running backs (if you can’t run the ball at least find some way to contribute, right?). We might also see some chipping by tight ends, though that probably would require two TE sets or shifting a single TE as Reed typically lines up weak side.

And if the Devils have some success blocking Reed? Then they probably get Carpenter drilled by the Pac-10’s second leading sack man, DE Will Tukuafu.

Prediction time: ASU’s line is protecting Carpenter a little better this year. But they’re still a bit porous on the line, and Carpenter is slightly gimpy on a bad ankle. Reed gets one this game. His constant pressure leads to Tukuafu getting two. Don’t be surprised if Jerome Boyd lays some wood of his own. The Ducks regain the Pac-10 in sacks following the trip to Tempe.