Pac-10 Week 12 Notes and Observations: Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State Sun Devils 4-7 Overall (2-6 Conference)
This Week’s Score: UCLA 23 – Arizona State 13
Next Week’s Opponent: Arizona
Yikes. Incredibly, the nightmarish 2008 season is actually looking good compared to this disastrous campaign. Has a team with a truly elite defense ever accomplished so little? ASU has been in so many close games this season because of the excellent defensive play, but the offense never came through. The Devils didn’t allow UCLA’s offense to score a TD for the entire game, and even managed to out gain the Bruins 315-292 in total yards. Yet somehow, ASU never really threatened to win the football game.
After watching this offense play 11 games, I can honestly say that it is one of the most inept units in the history of the program. For the first time since WWII, the Sun Devils will post back-to-back losing seasons. Oh, and for the first time in Dennis Erickson’s long college football career, he will have back-to-back losing seasons. Not a great time for the folks in Tempe.
I know a lot of people will be looking to blame QB Samson Szakacsy but the offensive problems are much bigger than him. Statistically, Szakacsy was very good (15/22 197 yards 2 TDs 1 INT), but when the pocket collapses on nearly every down an inexperienced QB is going to make mistakes. Personally, I still believe Szakacsy is the right choice for the Devils moving forward, but he needs time to develop and a MUCH BETTER supporting cast.
The season is essentially lost, but a rivalry is a rivalry right? At one point last Saturday night, it appeared ASU would be playing spoiler to the hated team from the south. Now that UA is officially eliminated from the Rose Bowl race, the only thing left to play for is the Territorial Cup and bragging rights. A win will give the program momentum heading into 2010, but an ugly loss will place Dennis Erickson firmly on the hot seat when next season starts.