ASU 101: A Halloween shootout?

ONE COULD ARGUE Arizona State's season has largely mirrored WSU's. They had a close non-conference loss, a shutout against a weak team, and a victory over USC. The Sun Devils have done it mostly with offense, however. In fact, if they didn't play in the same conference as Oregon, some would probably be saying Arizona State's offense was one of the best around.

Cougars (4-4) vs Sun Devils (5-2)
AT A GLANCE
KICKOFF:
7:30 pm Pacific Time

WHERE:
Martin Stadium (33,522)

TELEVISION:
ESPN

RADIO:
The Cougar Sports Radio Network covers much of the West. Click here for listings.

THE LINE:
ASU by 11.5

LAST MEETING:
2011, WSU lost 46-7.

THE SERIES:
WSU is 13-24-2 in the series.

CF.C PREDICTION:
Cougs 38, ASU 34

THE SUN DEVILS ON OFFENSE

Players to Know
Taylor Kelly, QB: One of the better quarterbacks few are talking about, ranking No. 7 nationally in total offense this season. He has completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,236 yards and 18 touchdowns while surrendering seven interceptions. Kelly is also a dangerous runner when the play breaks down, accounting for 249 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Marion Grice, RB: The former Gonzaga Prep standout has lived up to the billing in his sophomore campaign.

Jaelen Strong, WR: ASU's leading receiver is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. The next two highest receivers are running backs. Strong has 685 receiving yards and four touchdowns this year.

Overview
ASU has the No. 6 scoring offense in the country (45.4 ppg). They have an outstanding level of balance to their offense, averaging 332 passing yards and 177 rushing yards. Per game. The running backs are utilized heavily and they use a lot of twin tight end and H-back sets which help disguise their attack.

Strategy
Kelly shredded WSU's defense in Mike Leach's first year. The Cougars have got to get pressure on him, try to force some mistake and to make him feel uncomfortable – something WSU has not been able to do as well over their last four games. The teams that have beaten the Sun Devils have taken away their running attack. But in so doing, they've also been able to get enough pressure and cover their receivers well enough.

Key Statistic
Run/Pass Ratio: ASU has run the ball 279 times this season and passed it 289 times.

THE SUN DEVILS ON DEFENSE

Players to Know
Will Sutton, DT: The reigning conference defensive player of the year, Sutton has had a quiet start to his senior campaign, generating just two sacks so far this year. He had 13 sacks last season.

Chris Young, LB: The Seattle native came in as a JC transfer in 2012 and leads the team in tackles this season. Has great speed for a 244-pound frame.

Carl Bradford, DE: He leads the team in sacks and TFL with 4.5 and 9.5, respectively and has had a lot of success in recent games.

Overview
The Sun Devils' defense is light on star power, so teams have generally nullified Sutton with double teams. The D struggled early in the season, but has come alive lately. They almost completely shut down the Huskies before the bye week. They generally operate out of 3-4 system but in any given game, they'll switch up and run four- or odd-man fronts. Former WSU defensive coordinator Chris Ball coaches their secondary.

Strategy
Connor Halliday and the WSU offense are going to have to keep pace with the Devils. Halliday's passing has deteriorated over time (132.6 QB rating in the first half of games this season, 91.4 in the second half) so the Cougs probably need to come out guns blazing, and then shift to a more deliberate and conservative passing approach in the second half assuming all goes according to plan.

Key Statistic
Scoring Defense: While the offense ranks No 6. In the land, ASU's scoring defense ranks a much more moderate 63rd in the country at 26.7 ppg.

THE SUN DEVILS ON SPECIAL TEAMS
Zane Gonzales has not converted a field goal longer than 41 yards this year, but is 12-for-13 inside of 40..

FINAL THOUGHTS
-ASU's defense has not been as special this season as many predicted they would be -- but they know how to protect a lead. In the games they've led, the Devils have not surrendered a second half lead this season.

-WSU needs a better performance from their linebackers this game. ASU's defense can and will be scored upon, but the Cougs cannot solely count on Connor Halliday and the WSU offense to score every time out. Halliday's touchdown-to-interception ratio is 14-5 with he has a lead to work with -- and 4-12 when he doesn't.

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