Saturday, the ASU Football team handed Pac-12 South foe Colorado a 48-23 loss in Tempe. In a mundane affair, the Sun Devils did what they needed to, they beat Colorado soundly.
Offensively, ASU is getting better. Quarterback Mike Bercovici is starting to figure out how to run the zone-read play and is becoming a legitimate running threat. The vertical passing game made some improvements as well, with Bercovici finding multiple receivers on deep routes. And while the offensive numbers looked good, it wasn’t always pretty. The Sun Devil offense scored two fluke touchdowns. One was the first of the game where running back Demario Richard fumbled the ball. It was scooped up by tight end Kody Kohl. Kohl raced 23 yards to the end zone. There was also a deflected pass by Bercovici that luckily ended up in the right hands resulting in a touchdown.
The players and coaching staff probably would have liked to see a more dominant rushing attack. While ASU was efficient in the running game, after last week’s effort against UCLA, perhaps the expectation was that ASU would be able to run all over Colorado (the Buffaloes are one of the worst teams in the country in defending the run). Another oddity was how receiver D.J. Foster was essentially a non-factor in this victory. However, fellow receiver Tim White has established himself as an explosive playmaker for this offense. Moving forward, ASU fans should keep an eye on the injury to Demario Richard, who was on crutches at the end of the game.
Defensively, ASU was all over Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau. The ASU defense sacked him 8 times and forced several quick, inaccurate throws. The only red flag may be the rushing defense. It’s difficult to gauge just how good the Colorado offense is. They are improving as a program. And it showed in their rushing attack. Looking ahead to the game at Utah next week, ASU is going to have to improve their run defense.
Finally, it would be a mistake not to mention the kicking game. For two weeks in a row, the ASU special teams have looked solid. Kicker Zane Gonzalez was perfect getting touchbacks on kickoffs. What a weapon that is to not allow your opponent to set up a kickoff return. Likewise, punter Matt Haack also was deadly. While his net yardage was nothing special, he put two punts down inside the 20 yard line, which is huge. ASU will need all the help they can get from the special teams units next week if they hope to compete with Utah.
Overall, it was a solid team effort against Colorado. ASU did what they needed to do. They put together a complete game and handled an inferior opponent. But the fun begins now, as ASU prepares for fifth-ranked Utah next Saturday. That game will be a huge challenge for the entire team and the coaching staff. They’ll need to play better to hope to win that game. Stay tuned.