ASU football loses to San Diego State | 0:00
ASU football’s loss to San Diego State on Saturday night will have many fans wondering about the identity of the Sun Devils this season.
Sean Logan/ azcentral sports
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ASU coach Graham breaks down ‘poor’ performance vs. San Diego State | 4:00
Todd Graham breaks down ASU’s loss to San Diego State
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ASU players react to loss to San Diego State | 2:13
Reaction to ASU’s 30-20 loss to San Diego State
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Haller, Metcalfe preview ASU-San Diego State | 10:22
Doug Haller and Jeff Metcalfe preview the Arizona State-San Diego State game ahead of kickoff at Sun Devil Stadium.
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Sun Devil Report: Issues after win over New Mexico State | 11:48
azcentral sports’ Doug Haller looks back at ASU’s win over New Mexico State and looks ahead to San Diego State.
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azcentral sports’ Doug Haller and Jeff Metcalfe discuss ASU’s next game against San Diego State | 3:26
azcentral sports’ Doug Haller and Jeff Metcalfe discuss ASU’s next game against San Diego State.
Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Arizona State head coach Todd Graham talks about needed improvement from week one to week two | 0:49
Arizona State head coach Todd Graham talks about needed improvement from week one to week two.
Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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ASU head coach Todd Graham breaks down their next opponent San Diego State | 1:43
ASU head coach Todd Graham breaks down their next opponent San Diego State.
Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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ASU’s Todd Graham talks about former head coach Frank Kush | 4:16
ASU’s Todd Graham talks about former head coach Frank Kush, who will be honored at the next home game.
Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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ASU fallout: No, coach, it’s not ‘obvious’ | 1:58
Shot Clock video: Greg Moore and Jay Dieffenbach discuss ASU’s win over New Mexico State.
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ASU football vs. New Mexico State highlights | 0:00
ASU beat New Mexico State 37-31 in the 2017 season opener and the Sun Devils had a common refrain afterward: ‘We got the win.’
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Todd Graham breaks down ASU’s win over New Mexico State | 3:41
The Sun Devils’ head coach speaks to the media about his team’s performance in a 37-31 win in their season opener.
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Doug Haller and Greg Moore discuss ASU’s win | 3:09
The Sun Devils got an “ugly” win in their season opener, an effort that may not get it done against their Week 2 opponent.
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ASU players react to win over New Mexico State | 3:49
Manny Wilkins, Kalen Ballage and other Sun Devils speak to the media following the team’s 37-31 season-opening win.
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ASU unveils Pat Tillman statue | 1:38
A statue of Pat Tillman was exhibited at the north end zone of Sun Devil Stadium.
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Discussing ASU’s football’s home opener | 3:29
azcentral sports’ Doug Haller & Jeff Metcalfe look ahead to the Sun Devils’ first game of the season on Thursdauy night.
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Pac-12 preview: Three teams with national title aspirations | 1:15
Sports Pulse: USA TODAY Sports Paul Myerberg previews the 2017 Pac-12 football conference.
USA TODAY Sports
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#DearAndy: Which Coach has the Hottest Seat Heading Into the Season? | 2:08
Out of all of the major coaches in the country, who has the hottest seat heading into the 2017 season? Hint, they coach in the SEC.
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Non-conference football games are cash cows for colleges | 1:16
Division I college football programs are pulling in big money by scheduling non-conference opponents in ‘guarantee’ games.
USA TODAY Sports
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New video board at Sun Devil Stadium | 1:10
New video board at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Breaking down Arizona State football’s 2017 schedule | 1:47
A look at each game in the Sun Devils’ 2017 season
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Shot Clock: ASU QB fail? Suns ‘lose’ Kyrie | 2:08
azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley weigh in on ASU’s quarterback situation and the Suns not trading for Kyrie Irving.
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ASU football loses to San Diego State
ASU coach Graham breaks down ‘poor’ performance vs. San Diego State
ASU players react to loss to San Diego State
Haller, Metcalfe preview ASU-San Diego State
Sun Devil Report: Issues after win over New Mexico State
azcentral sports’ Doug Haller and Jeff Metcalfe discuss ASU’s next game against San Diego State
Arizona State head coach Todd Graham talks about needed improvement from week one to week two
ASU head coach Todd Graham breaks down their next opponent San Diego State
ASU’s Todd Graham talks about former head coach Frank Kush
ASU fallout: No, coach, it’s not ‘obvious’
ASU football vs. New Mexico State highlights
Todd Graham breaks down ASU’s win over New Mexico State
Doug Haller and Greg Moore discuss ASU’s win
ASU players react to win over New Mexico State
ASU unveils Pat Tillman statue
Discussing ASU’s football’s home opener
Pac-12 preview: Three teams with national title aspirations
#DearAndy: Which Coach has the Hottest Seat Heading Into the Season?
Non-conference football games are cash cows for colleges
New video board at Sun Devil Stadium
Breaking down Arizona State football’s 2017 schedule
Shot Clock: ASU QB fail? Suns ‘lose’ Kyrie
Arizona State on Saturday suffered its first loss, 30-20 to San Diego State at Sun Devil Stadium. It marked the Aztecs’ first road win over a Pac-12 school. They improved to 2-0, while the Sun Devils dropped to 1-1.
ASU has no identity. Through two weeks, the Sun Devils have no calling card. Nothing that they can count on each week, regardless of opponent. The most troubling issue is the running game. The Sun Devils rushed 31 times for 44 yards (with five quarterback sacks factored in) against San Diego State. While coaches often count quick passes to the perimeter as rushes, the lack of dominance up front complicates everything.
Have all the recent staff changes stunted ASU’s development? It’s reasonable to wonder. The Sun Devils are on their third offensive coordinator in as many years. In each of the last two seasons, coach Todd Graham has welcomed five new assistants to his staff. Some players have had a different position coach every season.
It’s early. Everyone has a tendency to take what they see and extrapolate it over the course of the season. Given ASU’s upcoming schedule (at Texas Tech, Oregon, at Stanford, Washington, at Utah, USC), that doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Understandable. Even so, there’s still time for the Sun Devils to figure some things out. How much of a difference will that make? Who knows? Maybe not much. In the meantime, ASU got national attention because its official football Twitter account asked fans not to tweet insults to players. Not a good look.
After the game, Graham had a simple answer for ASU’s weak rushing efforts: “We’re not getting people blocked,” he said. Actually, this has been a problem for a while. Over 10 games dating to last season, the Sun Devils have rushed for more than 100 yards in a game just three times. Of course, several things factor into this. Quarterback sacks negatively affect ASU’s rushing numbers. Also, coaches consider many quick strike passes as rushes. Another complication: Senior running back Demario Richard has missed most of this season with a right leg injury, and senior Kalen Ballage was limited in Saturday’s second half with an undisclosed issue. … Entering Week 3, ASU has given up 12 quarterback sacks (ranking 128th nationally) and 23 tackles for loss (129th). … Junior QB Manny Wilkins completed 20 of 33 for 298 yards and two TDs. He was hit often and hard, causing him to limp for a few plays in the first half.
A key sequence: Trailing 20-14 in the third quarter, sophomore John Humphrey dropped a deep touchdown pass that would’ve given ASU the lead. Two plays later, Wilkins misfired on fourth down, giving the ball to San Diego State. The Aztecs capitalized on an 11-play drive that padded their advantage. … ASU has gotten little from its tight ends – not in the passing game or with blocking. … Redshirt-freshman WR Frank Darby was a bright spot, catching three passes for 111 yards and a TD. His 53-yard score – which came on 3rd-and-37 – brought the Sun Devils to within 30-20 with 8:34 left. (ASU went for two on the PAT. Offensive coordinator Billy Napier called a great play. The entire offense shifted right at the snap, except for junior TE Ceejhay French-Love. He broke off his block and flared left, catching a throw-back pass from Wilkins. Junior LG Sam Jones and sophomore LT Cohl Cabral both were positioned to provide a wall for French-Love, but both missed a block and the attempt failed.) … With three minutes left, the Sun Devils took possession with a chance to cut into San Diego State’s margin but they had no urgency. Once, ASU took 26 seconds to snap the ball because the sideline changed the play. Fans booed.
In 2014, ASU went with a bigger defensive front to combat Stanford’s power rushing and it worked. The Sun Devils won 26-10. This season, ASU doesn’t have the personnel to do such a thing. As a result, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny rushed for 216 yards, a bulk coming on a 95-yard TD run in the first quarter. … Perhaps a bigger problem: ASU struggled getting off the field on third down. The Penny 95-yarder came on 3rd-and-6. The Aztecs also converted 3-and-8, 3rd-and-21 and 3rd-14. Overall, ASU has a 54.55 defensive third-down conversation percentage, which ranks 124th nationally. … Like Week 1, coordinator Phil Bennett mostly went with the same 11 guys, subbing only junior defensive tackle Renell Wren. ASU again went with a base defense the entire way. Junior LB Koron Crump had two quarterback sacks. His four on the season rank second nationally. In addition, senior safety Chad Adams made a couple nice open-field tackles and senior end Alani Latu posted 2.5 tackles for loss and batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. … ASU gave up five plays of 20-plus yards, four on the ground. The lone pass – the 33-yarder to Penny – came on a complete breakdown when a linebacker let Penny escape into the open. … ASU forced no turnovers and just two 3-and-outs.
For the past two years, ASU’s special teams have ranked among the Pac-12’s best. Against San Diego State, the Sun Devils slipped back to their old ways. It was ugly. After knotting the score 7-7 in the first quarter, providing a little energy in Sun Devil Stadium, ASU kicked to Penny and gave up a 99-yard TD. … Michael Sleep-Dalton also struggled. For the second consecutive week, the sophomore punted with his off (left) leg because of strained muscle in his right. In Week 1, Sleep-Dalton punted just fine. (He can punt with both legs). Saturday, he didn’t. His 12-yard punt at the end of the first half led to a San Diego State field goal. Overall, Sleep-Dalton averaged 36 yards on five punts, dropping one at the 1-yard line. ASU’s punt team also was flagged twice for delay of game. … Freshman Brandon Ruiz produced two touchbacks in four tries. In the second quarter, Ruiz had a 29-yard kickoff, something that Graham said was an error, not strategy.
Senior running back Demario Richard didn’t play because of a right leg injury suffered in Week 1. First-team receiver Ryan Newsome also missed his second consecutive game with an injury. … Senior RB Kalen Ballage (15 carries, 44 yards) was “dinged up” in the second half and played sparingly. … Sophomore WR John Humphrey appeared to suffer a left leg injury early in the fourth quarter. He did not return and Graham didn’t offer an update after the game. … ASU made a brief change on the offensive line, inserting sophomore Zach Robertson at right tackle and moving junior Quinn Bailey to right guard. After a series, the Sun Devils returned to their starting five. … After missing Week 1 because of disciplinary issues, redshirt-freshman Chase Lucas saw his first action as a punt returner. Senior CB Maurice Chandler did not appear to be with the team for the second consecutive week. He’s believed to be out for disciplinary reasons. … A junior-college transfer, French-Love saw significant action. Sophomore TEs Tommy Hudson and Alexander Otero participated in jumbo packages.
ASU visits Texas Tech on Saturday. The Red Raiders (1-0) beat Eastern Washington 56-10 in Week 1. They were off last week.