ROUNDTABLE: Staff Predictions for SDSU vs ASU
The Blaze Sports Staff give their assessments, thoughts and predictions for tonight’s game vs San Diego State
Michael Baron // Beat Reporter // @Michael_Baron96
The Sun Devils are 1-0 but last Thursday night’s 37-31 win over New Mexico State probably left Sun Devil fans scratching their heads. At times, the Devils were not able to move the football and the defense surrendered 549 yards to NMSU. Both sides of the football must execute better versus a much tougher opponent in San Diego State for any chance in victory. ASU ran the ball for 79 yards last week while SDSU running back Rashaad Penny had 197 alone in the Aztecs win over UC Davis and was named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week. An interesting matchup at quarterback will be on display under the lights at Sun Devil Stadium as Christian Chapman faces off against Manny Wilkins. Both quarterbacks only missed five throws last week, so expect both Chapman and Wilkins to be close in yardage. I believe the key to victory will be the offensive line and the running game. The passing yards will come, but whoever establishes an effective running game should win this game. Also, watch for momentum swings off of turnovers, especially late in the game. If this game was in San Diego, I think I would take Aztecs, but the Sun Devils know how to win in the Arizona climate and with the legendary Frank Kush being honored in Tempe, tonight’s game means a lot to this Arizona State program.
PREDICTION: San Diego State 34, Arizona State 38
Harley Yearout // Beat Reporter // @HarleyYearout
Both Arizona State and San Diego State are coming off winning weeks, but it is important to look at the level of competition. With a win against New Mexico State University, ASU showed it has the ability to throw the ball deep, but the offensive line was exposed. San Diego State University showed a versatile offense, accumulating 276 rushing yards and 237 passing yards. However, both teams were playing inferior competition. Headed into this week, ASU will have to lock down on defense to have a shot at walking out of Sun Devil Stadium victorious. Expect ASU to try to establish the run early, but don’t be surprised when the passing game is what gives ASU their offensive spark. Honoring Sun Devil legend Frank Kush gives ASU the emotional edge in what should be a shootout game.
PREDICTION: San Diego State 34, Arizona State 37
Chris Cadeau // Asst. Sports Director // @CWCadeau
This game is going to be decided by the team that decides to assert themselves in a huge way on defense. For ASU, the exciting part is possibly of seeing the defense continue to evolve. You know the one that threw up goose eggs in the first and third quarters last week? For the Sun Devils to have a chance of slowing down San Diego State senior running back Rashaad Penny, 154-yards on the ground in the first half last week, they’re going to have to maintain and sustain gap awareness. Either way, the defensive match-ups tonight have the propensity to be exciting with the ASU run defense seeming to be in good hands with senior Koron Crump. The warning I want everyone to heed is that SDSU is not a sleeper, and the Aztecs can and will beat ASU if the same team we saw last Thursday shows up to Sun Devil Stadium. In football you either get better, or implosion is imminent. SDSU scored less than 30-points twice last season, and with the emergence of Humphrey for ASU the rock is going to march up and down the field tonight.
PREDICTION: San Diego State 38, Arizona State 49
Braiden Bell // Asst. Sports Director // @Braiden_Bell
Trying to overcomplicate this matchup is unnecessary, the game is going to come down to the rushing attack on both sides. If ASU cannot limit Rashaad Penny to under 150 yards, they are in trouble. Getting off the field on defense is essential. The Aztecs love to dominate time of possession. On the other side of the ball, Arizona State must have success on the ground. This is easier said than done due to the fact that ASU’s offensive line struggled against New Mexico State. This will be a close game but SDSU will eventually pull away down the stretch.
PREDICTION: San Diego State 42 Arizona State 31
Eliav Gabay // Asst. Sports Director // @EliavGabay
This game will be determined by quarterback protection and who can get their receivers going. Both Arizona State and San Diego State played relatively weak opponents and collected wins last week. The difference? Sun Devil QB Manny Wilkins was sacked seven times as opposed to the Aztecs’ QB Christian Chapman, who was sacked once. If ASU wants a chance to win, the offensive line will need to be at a another level. When Wilkins had time in the pocket vs NMSU, he didn’t have much trouble finding his wide receivers in N’Keal Harry and John Humphrey. That leads me to my next point, the receiving core. Everyone knows both these teams can run the heck of the ball and these defenses have trained for that. It will be interesting to see who will get the deep ball going early. Look out for Humphrey to have another impressive outing coming off his 123 yards and one touchdown performance last week.
PREDICTION: San Diego State 38, Arizona State 42
Weston DeWitt // Sports Director // @WestonDeWitt
Last week was a scare. New Mexico State should have been an EASY win. This week, Arizona State will have to go up against a SDSU team that received a few Top-25 bids. If you give up 31 points to NMSU, it’ll be curious to see how the secondary and the entire defense is going to respond to the high powered offense in SDSU. Manny Wilkins looked good last week. He is actually learning how to slide and not go Robert Griffin III and potentially bust up his knee. His poise impressed my last week and it’s evident the offense has a ton of trust in him. DeMario Richard HAS to have an impact tonight. Him with Ballage, you NEED to get good yardage from your two head monsters in the back field. Now for SDSU, Rashaad Penny rushed for 197 yards last week in a win over UC Davis. The defense for ASU did a solid job last week against NMSU holding the running game to a minimum. But I anticipate it being a long night for the ASU defense. The offense for the Sun Devils will get their points, but will they get more than SDSU? I don’t believe so.
PREDICTION: San Diego State 40, Arizona State 31