Scouting Report: An ASU point of view

It may be rivalry week, but the staffs at Cat Tracks and the Devils Digest have decided to share scouting reports of our prospective teams. This week's scouting report comes from a Sun Devil perspective. We now resume the rivalry...

Arizona Wildcats (2-9, 1-6) at Arizona State (4-7, 1-6)
Friday, Nov. 28, 1:00 p.m.
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz
Radio: KNST (Brian Jefferies, Les Jospehson)
TV: Fox Sports Net (Steve Physioc, Tom Ramsey)

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Suffice to say that even the most pessimistic Sun Devil fan never thought the Duel in the Desert would determine if ASU would finish last in the Pac-10 Conference. Nevertheless, this is the underlying theme in the 77th meeting between the state's archrivals. The following is an Arizona State preview.


Key Players
QB Andrew Walter - ASU head coach Dirk Koetter thinks that in some respects his junior signal caller is currently playing better than his record setting year in 2002. Nevertheless, Walter's 2,763 yards, 21 touchdowns and ten interceptions pail in comparison to his stats last season. For weeks now, Walter has been hobbled by a bad ankle. Consequently or not, the Devils have yet to win since that injury took place. The bye week prior to Arizona game may have helped him to further heal that ailment.

RB Loren Wade - The redshirt freshman is a big reason for the turn around in ASU's running game. In his last five games, Wade has averaged 96.4 yards a game, and leads the Sun Devils with 664 yards rushing. His bruising running style complements the strong interior on ASU's offensive line. Like Walter, Wade has been hobbled with various injuries, but he should be the lead ball carrier come Friday.

WR Skyler Fulton - If there's a tough catch to be made or a crucial third down to convert, the Sun Devils are likely to call upon this senior. Fulton is second on the team in catches (57) and yards (795), but paces the team in touchdowns with nine.

Who's Hot? - WR Derek Hagan has eclipsed the century mark five times in 2003. The team leader in receptions (58) and Yards (921) has 46 catches, 808 yards, and six touchdowns in ASU's last seven games. Thus, this sophomore has emerged as the team's big playmaker.

Best Player you Haven't Heard of - TE Jamaal Lewis is beginning to be the threat that the Devils so covet at this position. His blocking may lag behind his catching abilities, but this redshirt freshman is probably the most improved player since the begining of the season. Defense

Key Players

DT Shane Jones - The senior leads all defensive linemen with 47 tackles. With 8 ½ tackles for loss, he naturally has the knack to get in opponents' backfields. The Devils may not be adept at stopping the run, but when they do Jones is usually the one leading the way.

LB Jamar Williams - This year the sophomore found himself as the veteran of the group. However, his team leading nine tackles for a loss, and 62 total tackles show that he was more than up for the task. Williams is an athletic sideline-to-sideline player, who matches his tackling force with his speed.

S Jason Shivers - The junior paced ASU in tackles in his first two years, and is virtually assured of that honor once again this season with 93 stops thus far. Considered the "quarterback" of the defense. Along with the team's seniors, this week's game may be his last as Shrivers ponders an early entry into the NFL.

Who's Hot?

- Ishmael Thrower started the season as a reserve, and is now a mainstay at defensive end. The JC transfer leads ASU with 3 ½ sacks. Does not let his undersized stature for this position get in the way of making plays.

Best Player you Haven't Heard of - Safety Matt Fawley. With fellow safeties Jason Shivers and Riccardo Stewart leading the team in tackles, it's easy to overlook this versatile player. Nevertheless, he is fourth on the team in tackles, and can play both safety positions. He's slated to start against Arizona over the injured Stewart.

Special Teams

Punter Tim Parker is one of the conference leaders with a 43.4 yards average. The senior also does an exceptional job in directional punting. True freshman Jesse Ainsworth has been doing an admirable job in his first Sun Devil season. He has made 10-14 field goals, and a fair share of his kickoffs go for touchbacks. Sophomore Josh Golden handles most of the kick and punt returns, and is generally productive in this area. Terry Richardson and Jason Shivers have been getting more looks as returners as well. ASU's coverage teams may have been a sore spot early in the year, but have gradually improved as the season progressed.

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