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Know Thy Enemy: Arizona State Sun Devils

NCAA Football: Oregon at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks come back to friendly Autzen to take on the Sun Devils. Who are they and how have they done so far this season?

2018 Record: 6-4 (4-3)

Key Numbers + Info (2018 season)

OOC Opponents: University of Texas-San Antonio, Michigan State, San Diego State

Points per game: 29.90

Points allowed per game: 23

Avg. yards per rush: 5.0

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 3.9

Avg. rush yards per game: 195

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 153.2

Rushing TDs: 20 for, 11 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 244.90

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 232

Passing TDs: 16 for, 15 against

Collective Pass Completion Rate: 64%

Collective Pass Completion Rate Against: 62%

Leading Rusher: Eno Benjamin (227 carries for 1,295 yards and 12 TDs)

Leading Receiver: N’Keal Harry (62 receptions for 928 yards and 9 TDs)

Leading Tackler: Jalen Harvey (70 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss)

Leader in Sacks: Merlin Robertson (5.0)

Analysis

  • Arizona State is a primarily run based team with a 56 to 44 run to pass ratio. They have been outrushed in 5 games, resulting in 4 losses. Opponents are equally adept at running the ball with a 56 to 44 run to pass ratio.
  • The Sun Devils have outgained their opponents 4,399 to 3,852 and have outscored their competition by a 299 to 230 margin.
  • The highest point total they have scored is 52 against Oregon State. The lowest they have scored is 13 in a loss to Stanford. Outside of one game, their wins have seen them score no less than 30 points. In most of their losses, their barrier seems to be 21 points.

Key prospects to watch

1. N’Keal Harry 6’3 216 Junior WR

- Harry is the WR1 in this year’s class, no questions asked. This is true especially after Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf went down with a neck injury. Harry is a big physical target for the Sun Devils and should warrant all the attention. He has made several highlight reel catches so far. The physical measurements are elite.

2. Casey Tucker 6’6 315 RS Senior OT

- Tucker is a graduate from Stanford and subsequently transferred to Arizona State using the graduate transfer rule so Furd couldn’t block the move. He’s one of the better tackle prospects in the conference. Solid in run blocking. Could rise as the offseason approaches.

Keys to an Oregon win

  • Ball control. The Ducks need to maintain possession to keep the potent Sparky offense off the field. In their losses, ASU has given up conversions on 43% on third downs. In their wins, they have converted 48% on third down. Oregon must lean on the run game in order to survive its haphazard defense being exposed.
  • Defense. They must contain the third ranked rusher in all of college football. Eno Benjamin has a whopping 1,295 yards and 12 touchdowns. The run defense has been admittedly inconsistent so it might be a chore on Saturday. He’s averaging a 5.7 yards per carry. Jim Leavitt must also come up with a way to scheme his defensive backs against the best receiver in the class, N’Keal Harry and force Manny Wilkins to look elsewhere.
  • Offensive consistency. Can OC Marcus Arroyo call a good game from start to finish for a change? He will need to copy the Stanford / Colorado playbook to compete with the Sun Devils. Just enough plays on offense to give the defense a rest.

Keys to an Oregon loss

  • Injuries. The injuries have piled up to the point at the most critical positions and the Ducks get exposed as a result, particularly along the offensive line. The defense has suffered a bit in the linebacker room, which isn’t ideal trying to contain Eno Benjamin. The Ducks need to get up big and just hang on.
  • OL/Front Seven. The line play on both sides of the ball has been horrendous as of late. The offensive line has been a sieve and the defensive line has generated very little pressure and can’t stop the run consistently. The secondary, while having issues, has largely improved but with a front seven being so poor, they have been hung out to dry. Last week was a clinic of a markedly poor plan on both sides, particularly on defense against untested backups.
  • Offensive creativity. In a word, nonexistent. The Pistol needs to be scrapped completely as it simply doesn’t work for this offense. Everyone on the planet knows what’s coming on offense for the most part. Arroyo needs to find some creativity and throw in some variety even if it’s just for a play or two on a drive to keep the defense off balance.
  • Justin Herbert. It has been a repetitive issue but his mental state during games isn’t the greatest. I don’t know its coaching or a personal choice but he seemingly refuses to keep the ball on option plays. He doesn’t have the personality traits to truly take command of the game. The offense can so simple to guard that even a rudimentary high school defensive plan will stymie Herbert. He constantly locks on to Dillon Mitchell and not the other receivers. Either the receivers are that talent deficient or Herbert can’t read the defense beyond what is called for him.

What are the odds?

The WestGate Superbook has Oregon as 3.5 point favorites. O/U is set at 64. The money line is Oregon -180 ASU +150

William Hill has Oregon as 3.5 point favorites. O/U is set at 64. The money line is Oregon -165 ASU +145

MyBookie.ag has Oregon as 3.5 point favorites. O/U is set at 64. The money line is Oregon -180 ASU +150

Score prediction

Oregon 35 ASU 31