Arizona State Defensive Preview

Arizona State's defense has plenty of talent, led by Will Sutton. Read on for a closer look at that talent, including the keys to scoring on it.

With the win against Utah, a 34-24 victory that the Wildcats' had to gut out, Arizona will return home to prepare for the post-Thanksgiving matchup with the neighbors from the North.

The Sun Devils will come to Tucson after beating Washington State last Saturday and becoming bowl eligible.

In the game, the Sun Devil defense was able to hold the Cougars to just seven points on the night, allowing Washington State to rush for a single yard on the day.

Arizona State's defense has been attacked with an even game plan throughout the season. The Sun Devils are giving up 161.1 yards on the ground and 174.2 yards through the air to go along with just over 23 points a game.

The Wildcats may try to attack on the ground, letting Carey try to exploit the defense with the rush. The Sun Devils will counterattack with junior defensive tackle Will Sutton. He is one of the most feared defensive linemen in the conference with ten and a half sacks, which are part of his eighteen tackles for loss. Sutton is a big factor in the Sun Devils stopping the running and passing games.

At the next level, Arizona State deploys two quality linebackers, Brandon Magee and Carl Bradford. Magee, a senior, is a leader on the defensive front. He has the most tackles on the team and is also credited with a forced fumble and two interceptions.

The sophomore Bradford is new to the defense, but has found himself getting quality playing time and is making the most of it. He has 65 tackles on the season to go along with nine and a half sacks. He is often sent on blitzes and can get into the backfield in a hurry.

Keelan Johnson and Alden Darby are the names to listen for in the ASU secondary. Together, they have combined for seven interceptions, ten pass breakups, and 139 tackles on the season. Both are safeties and can get lost in the secondary if the quarterback isn't focusing on the coverage, allowing them to jump routes and snag interceptions.

Arizona has proven that it can put up points when it plays in Arizona Stadium. With Matt Scott back behind the offense, the game in Utah never seemed to be out of reach and the Wildcats were able to come away with the victory.

Against rival ASU, the offense will have to keep up with the Sun Devils, who run a similar offense. It could be a high scoring affair, but only if the Wildcat offensive line can keep Sutton at bay.

Players to watch:

#8 LB, Brandon Magee – The team's defensive leader will be playing his last game as a college athlete and it is against a rival school. He shouldn't leave anything on the field and that could be dangerous for the Wildcats

#10 S, Keelan Johnson – In a similar situation to Magee, Johnson is playing in his final game. With his big play capability, he will be a player that the Wildcats may try to stay away from.

#90 DT, Will Sutton – He is a big defensive threat and will get plenty of attention from Arizona's offensive line on Friday. If he can't be stopped, or at least slowed down, then the Wildcats' offense could be in for a long day.

#52 LB, Carl Bradford – With attention being paid to Sutton, Bradford can, at times, slip past the defense and get into the backfield and blow up a play. He is another player that should be kept an eye on at all times.

Keys to the game:

1. Play aggressively: Even though there is a bowl game to look forward to in the next few weeks, this is the last game of the regular season and the final home game for many seniors. If there was a time to leave everything on the field, this is the game to do it in.

2. Control tempo: ASU gets the advantage of practicing against an up tempo offense in practice. However, the Wildcats have been even faster than the Sun Devils at times this season. If Arizona can run the offense faster than ASU has this season, it will make a big difference in the game.

3. Establish run early: With Carey closing in on record numbers, running the ball early actually solves two problems. It takes the records off the team's mind by allowing him to break them early and it opens up the passing game, which could come in handy if Arizona gets behind at any point in the game.

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