Scouting the Devils

As much as each team's fans would hate to admit it, the Sun Devils and the Wildcats have a lot of similarities. Both have first year coaches, both have struggled in the Pac-10 and both hate each other. The similarities don't end there. Both team can score in bunches and both teams use unusual defenses.

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The Sun Devils can flat out score. The team from up north is averaging 34.6 points a game and average more than six yards per play. Jeff Krohn has played very well at quarterback when he has stayed healthy. The son of former Wildcat signal caller, and John Mackovic recruit, Jim Krohn has been knocked out of three games this year.

"Jeff's played very well this year," said ASU coach Dirk Koetter. "The only negative is that there are three games that Jeff hasn't finished."

Krohn has been among the best in the nation in passing efficiency and currently leads the conference with a 159.7.

"Krohn is an exceptional quarterback," said Mackovic. "His passing efficiency is so high because he doesn't throw many bad balls."

Running behind Krohn is Delvon Flowers. Flowers has been great as of late and has upped his average to 94.8 yards a game. Not bad for a guy recovering from a severe knee injury.

"He's gotten better as the season has gone along," said Koetter. "He's had some excellent games."

At receiver the Cats will be most worried about Shaun McDonald. The ASU receiver leads the conference in receiving and has scored 10 touchdowns.

"He's faster that anyone we have," Mackovic said. "We'll match up with him anyway we can."

Arizona counters with some offensive weapons of their own. Running back Clarence Farmer and wide receiver Bobby Wade are among the Pac-10's best players. Farmer is on of only two conference players averaging over 100 yards a contest and over 1000 yards on the year. In terms of total yards Farmer trails DeShaun Foster by only 37 yards.

Wade a Phoenix native doesn't have the beat numbers in the Pac, but he has earned the respect of the opposing coaches.

"Bobby Wade is one of the most exciting players in the Pac-10," said Koetter. "He's made plays in every game. When he has the ball in his hands he's extremely dangerous."

Both teams throw unusual defenses at their opponents. The Wildcats utilize the Double Eagle Flex, a gap control defense where the object is to stretch the ball carrier East-West, letting the linebackers make the big plays. Lance Briggs has been that big play guy. Briggs averages 8.5 tackles a game and also has four sacks to his credit.

The Flex puts extra pressure on the Wildcat defensive backs, who spend the majority of the time in man-to-man single coverage.

The Devil utilize what is essentially a 4-4 defense. They have one of the best defensive lines in the conference, led by Terell Suggs. Suggs has 17 tackles for loss and 10 quarterback sacks. He has also forced a league high four fumbles.

The unique aspect of the Devil defense is their outside linebackers who are essentially strong safeties. They are undersized speedy players who are used to stop outside runs and pick up backs and tight ends in pass coverage. The Devils utilize only three pure db's in the scheme.

OUTLOOK: Both teams have had very similar seasons. They both have one conference win and four total wins. The Devils still have outside bowl hopes if they can win their last two games. The Devils have a slight advantage in most offensive categories and more importantly have a two game winning streak in the series. With all that said, it's a rivalry game and anything can and usually will happen.

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