Devils Embarrassed in Iowa Loss

There comes time where optimism is met with cold reality, and hard lessons are learned. Following the 21-2 defeat to the Hawkeyes, the Sun Devils realized that their performance in the first two games of the season was not an aberration, and introducing a more complex and expanded playbook is not a guaranteed recipe for success. Saturday evening, school was in session in Iowa City, and ASU was the unwilling and frustrated pupil failing to make the grade.

Quarterback Andrew Walter had one of his worst days under center. The junior was 25-44 for 160 yards, the lowest total since the Central Florida game last year. Not only did he not pass for any touchdowns, but also his lone pick occurred at the Iowa goal line and negated a golden opportunity to increase the Devils' early lead. In his defense, he faced constant pressure all through out the game, and his inept receivers definitely didn't lend a helping hand. The leading ASU receiver was Matt Miller who hauled in seven balls for 45 yards. The team's 24 yards rushing were very reminiscent of last year's production. However, one can argue that the ground attack was abandoned early while the game was still in reach. Overall, 184 yards of total offense and nearly two quarters without a first down is quite telling as to what kind of a night it was for maroon and gold offense.

The Sun Devil defense was responsible for the only points on the night. Nonetheless, the safety credited to ASU was a result Brett Hudson mishandling a returned fumble recovery in the end zone. The Devils' secondary was missing cornerback R.J. Oliver, and his absence was heavily felt, despite the modest 154 yards passing by Iowa. Case in point, all of Iowa's scores were surprisingly via the air. Some may call the Hawkeyes offense one dimensional, but that certainly wasn't the case today. Their 153 yards rushing did a marvelous job keeping the offense balanced, as well as controlling the time of possession.

ASU cannot pin this loss on their special teams. Punter Tim Parker had another strong showing averaging 43.7 yards on ten punts, the Devils return game was once again consistent. True freshman kicker Jesse Ainsworth missed his first filed goal attempt in the maroon and gold – a 46-yard try. Iowa's special teams unit didn't necessarily win the game or make head turning plays. However, they were more than adequate when given the opportunity. Not to take anything away from the performance of both teams, but the officiating seem to give the visitors from Tempe no breaks.

If there is any silver lining in this loss, it's that ASU's Rose Bowl aspirations are still alive. A win at Oregon State this Saturday, which skeptics may deem improbable, won't only turn around the psyche of this squad 180 degrees, but also help kick off a Pac-10 campaign on the right foot. We may be only three games into the season, but what we do know about the Sun Devils thus far isn't comforting to say the least. This week Coach Dirk Koetter's team will have a chance to hit the books re-educate us all.

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