Stanford Preview

ASU hits the road for the first time this season in a bit of a role reversal. After preserving a home-winning streak last week against conference foe Oregon State, the Sun Devils are looking to break a streak themselves this week at Stanford. Can Dennis Erickson break the 10-year old losing streak at Stanford Stadium and notch the first conference win for ASU in the state of California since 1999?

STANFORD CARDINAL

Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh
2007 Record: 1-2, 0-2 Pac-10

Last Week: A spirited first half by the Cardinal wasn't enough in the end as Stanford ran out of gas in the final two frames and fell to Oregon, 31-55.

OFFENSE

*Projected Starters

WR Mark Bradford, Sr.
LT Ben Muth, Jr.
LG Mikal Brewer, Sr.
C Tim Mattran, Sr.
RG Alex Fletcher, Jr.
RT Chris Marinelli, So.
TE Jim Dray, So.
QB T.C. Ostrander, Sr.
RB Anthony Kimble, Jr.
FB Owen Marecic, Fr.
WR Evan Moore, Sr.

New skipper Jim Harbaugh has revitalized the Cardinal offense, already doubling the offensive output from a year ago. The offense is now averaging 28.3 points while putting up just a 10.6 point per game average in 2006.

Running back Anthony Kimble has quietly put himself atop the Pac-10 in All-Purpose yardage by averaging 220.7 yards per contest. The junior has gained 268 rushing yards while adding 347 yards returning kicks in the Cardinal's first three games. Kimble is also the top offensive scorer with three touchdowns and has a 5.5 yard average per rush to boot.

The receivers have stayed healthy this season, which has been a problem in the past. Seniors Evan Moore and Mark Bradford are experienced wideouts with a combined 24 catches and a score between them. Bradford missed practice earlier this week to return to Los Angeles for personal reasons and it's unknown if he'll be available for this week's game. Sophomore Richard Sherman has parlayed last season's success into this year and has added a big play capability to the offense. Sherman leads the team in receptions with fourteen and two receiving touchdowns.

Featured Match up:

T.C. Ostrander vs. Arizona State secondary

Ostrander is averaging 276 yards per game through the air in his first full season as the starter. The signal-caller has thrown for six touchdowns and two interceptions in 131 attempts this season. If his offensive line, missing their best player in left tackle Allen Smith, can protect him throughout the game, then Ostrander is capable of applying pressure on the Sun Devil defensive backs.

DEFENSE

*Projected Starters

DE Pannel Egboh, Jr.
DT Levirt Griffin, So.
NT Gustav Rydstedt, Jr.
DE Erik Lorig, So.
SLB Clinton Snyder, So.
MLB Nick Macaluso, RS-Fr.
WLB Pat Maynor, Jr.
FS Bo McNally, So.
SS Austin Yancy, So.
CB Nick Sanchez, Sr.
CB Wopamo Osaisai, Jr.

The defensive line will be without starting nose tackle and former Valley prep star Ekom Udofia. New starter Gustav Rydstedt has previous experience in the trenches, including eight starts. He and defensive tackle Levirt Griffin both have a pair of tackles for loss this season. Ends Pannel Egboh and Erik Lorig have a combined eighteen tackles this fall. Reserve end Udeme Udofia has contributed four tackles off the bench.

Strong-side linebacker Clinton Snyder is battling some early injury concerns but is expected to play. Snyder suffered a deep thigh bruise last week and has been bothered by stingers. The sophomore is tied for fourth on the team with fourteen tackles. Pat Maynor's best games on the weak-side have come against conference foes this year. Maynor tallied twelve tackles last week against Oregon while adding ten stops against UCLA.

Featured Match up:

Stanford secondary vs. Rudy Carpenter

The Cardinal secondary has surrendered some chunks of yardage in Pac-10 play this season already as Oregon amassed 367 yards through the air last week. The secondary cannot afford a repeat performance this week against a hot Rudy Carpenter. Junior corner Wopamo Osaisai is the top coverage guy on the Farm and leads the team with six pass break ups. Nick Sanchez, an 18-game starter at cornerback, injured his hamstring last week against Oregon but should be ready to play this week. Free safety Bo McNally leads the Pac-10 with 10.7 tackles per game.

SPECIAL TEAMS

P Jay Ottovegio, Sr.
PK Derek Belch, Sr.

PR Chris Hobbs, So.
KOR Anthony Kimble, Jr.

Senior Jay Ottovegio has a chance to become Stanford's career leading punter this season. Ottovegio is averaging 42.2 yards on 21 punts this season. Five of his punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line. Derek Belch beat out Aaron Zagory for the kicking job and has been relatively successful so far. Belch is 5 of 6 on field goal attempts this season, including a perfect 2 of 2 on attempts of 50 or more yards. His longest make is from 52 yards out.

Kick returner Anthony Kimble has been a bright spot for the Cardinal special teams this fall. He's averaging 21.7 yards per return with his longest going for a 49-yard gain. Chris Hobbs hasn't been as successful fielding punts. Hobbs is averaging just under 5 yards per return.

Keep an eye on Udeme Udofia if Arizona State lines up for a field goal attempt. The senior has blocked three kicks in his career, all of which have come against the Sun Devils.

KEYS TO VICTORY FOR STANFORD

- Limit Torain and the Sun Devil rushing attack: Pac-10 foes UCLA and Oregon rushed for 338 and 222 yards respectively against the Cardinal this season. That doesn't bode well for the home team if ASU has similar success on the ground with All Pac-10 candidate Ryan Torain.

- Get off to a fast start: The Sun Devils have had their share of struggles on the road, especially in California. If the Cardinal can jump out to an early lead, it forces the visiting Sun Devils to come from behind for the third time in four weeks. With injuries beginning to set in, any early points by the Cardinal can only help when depth may become an issue in the second half, as was the case last week against Oregon.

- Protect Ostrander: The signal-caller cannot move the chains if he's constantly being hurried and/or sacked. Ostrander has been sacked eight times in three games, with seven of those coming against UCLA and Oregon.

KEYS TO VICTORY FOR ARIZONA STATE

- Start strong in the First Quarter: Avoid another slow start by the offense, especially on the road. Every conference road game will be a test and the Sun Devils won't always be as fortunate to overcome big deficits.

- Success in the trenches: The offensive line should be hungry to establish things this week after being stymied by a salty Oregon State defensive line last week. The pass protection is priority number one this week to keep quarterback Rudy Carpenter healthy. A match up against the Cardinal OL may also cure what is ailing the ASU defensive line as the pass rush must show more signs of life this week.

- Disrupt the Cardinal passing game: ASU's pass defense will continue to be tested and this week is no different. Stanford's top three receivers average more than 10 yards per catch, with Richard Sherman at a 16.7 yard average per reception. Whether it's disrupting the timing routes at the line of scrimmage or closing hard on the ball, the pass defense seems to benefit somewhat from the aggressive, physical style despite some lapses in coverage.

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