Defensive Domination Sinks Central Florida

The importance of half time adjustments was never more apparent as it was against the Golden Knights. In the last 30 minutes, the Sun Devils scored 36 unanswered points, 16 coming from its suffocating defense, and turned what was suppose to be a most challenging out of conference game into a annihilating victory over the visitors from Orlando.

Whether this game produced a quarterback controversy or not remains to be seen. However, it was quite obvious back up Quarterback Andrew Walter outplayed starter Chad Christensen. While Walter's numbers were modest, 4-5 for 54 yards, the two touchdown passes to Wide Receiver Shaun McDonald help ignite a 29-point outburst in the third quarter. Christensen was 5-12 for 66 yards and a touchdown, and lost a fumble. In his defense the running game played poorly while he was on the field, and poor pass protection was the main contributor for him being sacked five times. Time will tell if the redshirt freshman will hang on to his position, and that topic will weigh heavily on the minds of the ASU coaches and the Sun Devil faithful.

As mentioned, the running game was anemic at best, until the fourth quarter. A 49–yard-rushing total after third quarters mushroomed to 141. This feat was in large attributed to Cornel Canidate who finished once gain as the leading rusher for ASU. He rushed for 57 yards on 11 carries, and a touchdown. His fellow running mates Mike Williams and Hakim Hill had an average at best night, and each lost a fumble to boot. While the passing yards by the Sun Devils appear to be dismal at 120, they were awfully effective. Three out of the five catches by McDonald were touchdowns, and he finished with an economical 54 yards. Tight End Mike Pinkard continued his solid season with a 45-yard catch on a 4th and 1 play, which kept an offensive drive alive, and led to one of McDonald's scores.

When your opponent gains a handful of net yards in the second half, it would be hard to come up with an adjective that could accurately describe the utter supremacy the ASU defense exhibited on Saturday night. UCF's signal caller Ryan Schneider was under a barrage of Maroon shirted defenders for most of the evening, and the hit he suffered by Defensive End Terrell Suggs knocked him out of the contest and led to one of two interceptions returned for touchdowns. It should be noted that several drops by the Knights' receivers didn't help the visitors' offense to ever get on track. Standout receiver Doug Gabriel finished with 116 yards on the night. However, 80 of those yards came on play that went for a touchdown. That score was the only blemish on cornerback's R.J. Oliver's performance, which included four pass deflections and four tackles. Suggs had one of the most dominating defensive performances by a Sun Devil player in recent memory. His stat line says it all: Seven total tackles, including three sacks and one more tackle for a loss, as well as two pass deflections. Safety Riccardo Stewart may be remembered more for his 28-yard run on a fake punt, rather than his team leading eight tackles, and one sack. Linebackers Josh Amobi and Connor Banks each returned an interception for a touchdown. In this game, Coach Brent Guy's unit continued its sound performance that has been a staple in every ASU game so far this season.

All the hype surrounding the strength of Central Florida seemed to materialize in the first half. However, the Golden Knights had no answer for the onslaught that the Sun Devils employed on both sides of the ball in the second half. The pre-game talk surrounding this match alluded to the fact that the final score would speak volumes on the current state of ASU Football, who starts Pac-10 play later this month. Thus, this resounding win should erase some of the fears that the Sun Devil followers had after the first two games. As predicted, the team will go as far as the defense will carry it, which is in sharp contrast to last year. On the same token, the offense still has many issues to solve, with the newest being the quarterback situation. This week's road game at San Diego State should be an easier test on paper. Nevertheless, an offensive improvement in that game is vital to clear any clouds of doubt around this young and experienced unit. For now, Dirk Koetter's squad can hang their hat on an impressive victory over a credible opponent, knowing that not all the questions marks around this team have been answered to the fullest satisfaction.

Post Game Notes will be posted on the premium message board.

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