I believe this game won’t be as close as we hope. I see Arizona St taking a 21-7 lead by the end of the first half with 21-3 like we saw against UCLA also possible. I don’t believe our team is putting together the whole mental framework to compete for wins yet. Part of this is on Riley for talking too much about trying to improve in some aspects of the game instead of more confidently stating he likes his team chances if they play 4 quarters and follow the game plan. The other key is that our defense isn’t stopping good teams very often at all. Our offense is averaging only 15.66 points per game and we have seen perhaps our two easiest games already in Sac St and UCLA at home.
The second half won’t be much prettier. In order to have a fighting chance we have to get our best athletes the ball. Wheaton, Bishop, J Rod, Halahuni and even Jordan Poyer. I almost wonder if we shouldn’t have looked at ways to bring Poyer into some offensive packages. I guess the thought is our defense spends too much time on the field. As evidenced by his punt return for a TD though Poyer is one of our top athletes. That is what makes the DB technique taught by Banker so head scratching. Poyer has struggled and naturally he is talented. I have to believe this technique strips away at that natural talent and leaves us more exposed than otherwise and the 119th out of 120 teams in FBS ranking for pass efficiency defense backs me up. I thought about asking Riley about it on his coaches show last night but figured I would leave him alone and knew nothing would change anyway whatever he said was the reasoning or excuse for why we have been so poor.
Arizona St. has looked motivated in their night games and I expect 6′ 8″ Brock Osweiler to have an effective game. They are running the offense fast and have playmakers on defense. Our offense is ineffective at running and now we are hearing that Malcolm Agnew’s hamstring is causing him discomfort again. While listening to Angie Machado on 860am last night there was even a rumor Riley might try to medical redshirt him. I have my doubts that happens but it is looking like his hamstring could be a lingering issue for several weeks. Medical redshirting would be a smart move for the future. He had a hamstring issue late in his high school career as well. I expect our defense to be playing on its heels. Crichton may be a bright spot and hopefully LaGrone plays respectable but it won’t be enough. The defense has to proactively be seeking out opportunities for plays on defense for interceptions and find ways to get off the field for us to have any chance.
Unfortunately, it won’t go that way and I see a final score more like 42-13 ASU. Riley apologists will have even less ammo after this one and then it wil be Arizona at home next. That is a game we have to have for one of our remaining few opportunities to win. Expect a swarmy night in the desert and the Beavs still not stringing it well enough together. Red zone woes will continue. That is why I say only one TD for the Beavs and two field goals that won’t stem the tide of the game. ASU will play faster and more consistently. Their defense and Burfict will be much more aggressive. In the end it will be another Riley blowout. Erickson will feel bad but he has his team on a mission for the Pac-12 Championship game. The irony as Erickson and Riley shake hands with OSU’s program at new lows in the 2nd decade of Riley will be apparent.
ASU 42, OSU 13