Arizona State Preview

Our friends at DevilsDigest.com preview the Arizona State football team for us. <br><br> ASU by 6? Hmmmm...

Record, rankings, and standing in conference: 4-2 (1-0) Tied for second in the Pac-10.


Key Players:
QB Andrew Walter- Ranks second in the nation in pass efficiency. Has passed for over 800 yards the last two games. Ironically, he wasn't even the starter until two games ago. A strong-armed quarterback who effectively executes Dirk Koetter's high-octane offense.

WR Shaun McDonald – The 2001 All-Pac 10 receiver hasn't lost a beat from last season. He has been the main beneficiary of Walter's play, with 684 yards and eight touchdowns. By far the most dangerous offensive weapon for the Sun Devils.

DE Terrell Suggs – With 12 sacks in six games, the junior is on pace not only to break several school records, but also some Pac 10 ones. A solid combination of speed and strength, Suggs has been racking havoc in opposing backfields all season.

S Riccardo Stewart – Don't be fooled by his 5'10" 194 frame. The safety is a ferocious hitter, who is second in team tackles with 52. He can been seen flying to the ball on every down. Has good blitzing ability as evident in his three sacks this season.


Injuries:
Stewart and running back Cornell Canidate are suffering from ankle injuries, but should be ready this week. Offensive linemen Damien Niko and linebacker Ishmael Thrower are still out. The Devils get back offensive linemen Adrian Ayala and Tony Aguilar, as well as linebacker Solomon bates. Hudson's availability for the Oregon State game is questionable.


Who's Hot:
RB Hakim Hill had 193 total yards against North Carolina. Hill is a threat every time he touches the ball, whether it be running, catching, or returning punts and kickoffs. He's a load of talent that may be finally materializing on his vast potential.


The best player nobody's heard of:
LB Mason Unck. Coming into the season he was fighting for a starting spot in a scheme, which calls for only two linebackers. These days, he's leading the Sun Devils in tackles with 53, including seven tackles for a loss. He also leads the conference with four forced fumbles. Arguably the leader, as well as the heart and soul of the ASU defense.


Weaknesses:
The cornerback position opposite R.J. Oliver has been constantly picked on every game. In a very pass-happy Pac-10, that trend is likely not to go away anytime soon. The revolving door at the position isn't helping matters either. Brett Hudson, Josh Golden, and Mike Davis Jr. are rotating at this spot, and generally none have them has been consistently good.


Strengths:
The Devils' passing game has been on fire as of late. Walter-McDonald is as lethal a combination you'll find in the conference. Wide receiver Skyler Fulton helped alleviate pressure from McDonald last week and finished with 122 yards receiving. Fellow receiver Daryl LightFoot has 178 yards in the last couple of matches, and Hakim Hill is a lethal threat from the backfield. ASU also leads the league in sacks with 25.


Last game result:
North Carolina 38 ASU 35


Prediction for game:
ASU by 6. The Devils are anxious to rebound from a disappointing loss, and continue their success in Pac-10 play.


Series History and last meeting result:
ASU holds a 20-7-1 all-time advantage in the series with Oregon State. The Sun Devils have won the last six meetings, and nine out of the last 10. Last year the Devils' lone Pac-10 victory was against the Beavers, a 41-24 home win on Oct. 20, 2001.

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